Wayang Brayut and other giant wayang murals of Yogyakarta
The last time I saw big mural under a flyover was in Bandung last year. So when a taxi driver in Yogyakarta brought me to Lempuyangan Flyover near the old Yogyakarta train station, I stared with awe. The whole stretch of the flyover’s Y-shapped pillars were covered with amazingly beautiful mural, depicting traditional wayang in various forms.
Apparently these murals have been there since 2007, when Jogja Mural Forum started the initiative and invited 6 artists to decorate it in an event called Tanda Mata dari Jogja (memento from Yogya).
The murals tell a lot of stories and social messages. This awesome Wayang Brayut with blue background, for one. Brayut is figure from wayang kulit (leather puppet) and is a depiction of Hariti, a demon who turned into Buddhist figure of easy birthing as well as that of protection and parenting of children. Hence Brayut, similar with Hariti, is always illustrated with many children.
In Java, the oldest Brayut in her Hariti’s manifestation is found in Candi Mendut (Mendut Temple), and in Bali one can be seen inside Goa Gajah and Candi Dasa. Here, Brayut is pictured at one side of the pillar with a message that read ngemong lan dadi tulodho sing becik, for us adults to be examples for the kids. Socially, it is a critic for the government to be a figure of a responsible leader. On the other side of the pillar is a man carrying white collar figures with a message Eling lan waspodo which translates to be sober and alert.
Wayang Brayut disappeared during Soeharto’s new order regime, as it was often seen to be in contrary with the government Family Planning program. Appropriately, the two artists Sulasno and Dani Juniarto put down the title at the bottom, Wayang Brayut, Riwayatmu Kini (roughly translates to Wayang brayut, where are you now).