The friezes in Bangkok’s Emerald Buddha Temple were brought to the big screen this past week in the form of the animation “Ramavatar: Mural Brought to Life”. The film was shown in Jakarta and Yogyakarta to mark Thailand’s turn as Asean chair and the start of what has been designated as Asean Cultural Year.
Culture Minister Vira Rojpojanarat presents a souvenir to Ibu Dewi Wahab, special adviser to Indonesia’s minister of foreign affairs at the opening in Jakarta on Wednesday night. Photo courtesy of Culture Ministry
“The animation is beautiful and it’s a wonderful project. Thailand’s Culture Ministry has brought the mural depicting the Ramayana epic to life through this movie,” Ibu Dewi Wahab, special adviser to Indonesia’s minister of foreign affairs told The Nation Weekend at the opening in Jakarta on Wednesday night.
Directed by Atipat Kamolpet, the hour-long animation portraying the Ramakien, as the Thai version of the Ramayana is known, has been cleverly transposed from 2D murals at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha into a 3D animation for the big screen, with characters’ moves imitating gestures of khon masked dance.
This project is part of a yearlong calendar of activities based on khon, which in November |was added to Unesco’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
“As Indonesia and Thailand share the same culture on the Ramayana, we will learn from Thailand how to preserve this heritage by using the new technique [animation] to pass the story on to our young generations,” she added.
The 8th Meeting of the Asean Ministers Responsible for Culture and Art (AMCA) in Yogyakarta on October 25 designated the year 2019 as Asean Cultural Year.
Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam with Indonesian guests.
“By enhancing our cultural ties, we raise awareness of the Asean identity as well as foster peace and social stability in the community. Cooperation in culture and arts |is thus vital to strengthening mutual understanding and bonding relationships within our region. read a statement from the AMCA.
“The Kingdom of Thailand and the Republic of Indonesia have had a close and tight relationship since ancient times. We have enjoyed cooperation and exchange programmes under Asean for decades,” Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said in his opening speech at the theatre in Yogyakarta on Thursday night.
“Now that it has been shown here in Indonesia, the animation road show will travel to Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, countries that share the same Ramayana culture which is influenced by India,” added Culture Minister Vira Rojpojanarat.
To celebrate the 70th anniversary of bilateral relationships next year, Thailand and Indonesia are planning to further extend their cooperation on cultural exchange.