Blacius Subono

Blacius Subono or Bono was born in Klaten, February 3, 1954 and inherited the skill of performing a puppeteer from his father. Since childhood, Bono has been accustomed to watching wayang performances because he often accompanies his father to play the puppeteer and learn to play the gamelan. In fact, Bono was known as a child puppeteer who regularly performed in public when he was 12 years old. After junior high school, he studied at the Surakarta Karawitan Conservatory. Then, Bono took his undergraduate education majoring in Puppetry Arts and the Postgraduate Program in Art Creation with an interest in Nusantara Puppetry at the Indonesian Art Institute (ISI) Surakarta.

The dalang’s family environment and formal education in musical arts shaped his skills as a musician, puppeteer, arranger, composer, and scriptwriter as well. As an artist with a background in traditional art, Bono expands his creative space in two cultural dimensions, namely tradition and today’s culture. He is very good at designing the construction of the sound of songs from the past into a discourse with a new, more dramatic characteristic. His various innovations are applied in his works, for example, his work on new musical pieces in Wayang Kancil, Wayang Sandosa, Wayang Wahyu, and Wayang Multimedia. Not surprisingly, he is called a ‘crazy singer’ by his fellow artists.

He worked on the arrangement of music for various well-known artists, such as puppeteer Ki Mantep Sudharsono, Ki Anom Suroto – dance artist Sardono W. Kusumo, Retno Maruti, Elly and Deddy Luthan. Bono has also been invited to perform in the United States and Canada, England, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. For his work, Bono received a Cultural Medal from the Javanese Cultural Institute, an Art Award from the Indonesian Minister of Education and Culture (1996). He currently teaches puppetry at his alma mater, the Surakarta Indonesian Art Institute.

Cultural Figure