a talented young boy artist

I Gusti Gede Dharma Putra is a young boy with a unique talent. A leading dalang (puppeteer) in Bali, he lives in Kuta with his family, where, now aged 14, he has been practicing his art since the age of six. Putra also plays traditional Balinese music and performs Balinese dances. Putra shared his day with The Bali Times

I begin my day at 6:30am and go directly to the bathroom to have a shower. After that, I have breakfast and head to school around 7am.

My mother takes me to my school, SMP Sunari Loka Kuta, on the motorbike. I like my school because it’s one of the nicest in Kuta. One day I’d like to be chief of the school organizations.

Around 12:30pm, my mother picks me up from school and brings me back home, and I change out of my uniform. Then my family and I have lunch around 1pm together. I like my mother’s cooking. It’s delicious. That’s why I enjoy having lunch at home.

After lunch, I study and review the lessons I learned earlier that morning at school and take a nap from 2pm to 4pm. I have to rest in order to renew my energy. Afterwards, I usually go to the beach with my brother. Later in the evenings, when I have time, I practice performing a Wayang Kulit show.

My father teaches me every day the ways and techniques of a dalang. I’ve always wanted to become a dalang because when I was growing up, I loved watching my dad perform Wayang Kulit shows. My father is a dalang, and my forefathers were dalangs. It runs in the family.

Being a Dalang isn’t easy. I have to learn how to speak in different voices: the voice of a child, an old man and a woman. I also have to learn how to move the puppets and have them express themselves differently in each show.

My family is very supportive of my learning to be a dDalang. My father especially always tells me: “You have the potential to become a great dalang.” I’m always happy to hear it.

Although I make time to practice my dalang techniques, I also make sure to do my schoolwork because formal education is also a very important part of my life. In addition to being a dalang and performing Wayang Kulit shows, my other hobbies include Balinese dancing and music.

My life’s ambition is to improve and protect Balinese culture. Bali is a beautiful Indonesian island and I want to keep it beautiful. Part of keeping the island beautiful is preserving the island’s culture. I don’t want my island’s culture destroyed. In modern times, people keep forgetting the importance of culture. I want to change that.

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