Shadow play with superheroes


Marvellous: Chuo displaying the Batman and Superman shadow puppets at the DC Super Heroes Wayang Kulit Exhibition, which is part of the country

GEORGE TOWN: Green Lantern, Superman and Flash are bare-footed while Wonder Woman stands on a phoenix. Also spotted is Superman wearing a sarong-like pant.

No, the popular Justice League characters have not undergone any attire makeover but they have just been fused with traditional wayang kulit as one of the main attractions at the country’s first ever Justice League Weekend here.

Justice League fan Jack Ooi was among those at the Gurney Paragon Mall, who was excited to see his favourite Flash come to life in a traditional way.

“The exhibition is very special and unique. Although the characters are foreign, they are made to blend in well with our local culture and tradition,” he said, adding that the detailing of the characters in wayang kulit was “really good”.

The 22-year-old digital animation student said the DC Super Heroes Wayang Kulit Exhibition will evoke the curiosity of young people.

Another visitor, Hanis Wahida Mohd Daai, 25, who works in a 3D art museum, thought the display was really cool.

“It’s like a Malaysian take on the classic DC characters,” she said.

The exhibition organised by Penang Global Tourism will be at the mall until Merdeka Day. It is held in conjunction with the Justice League Run Penang at the Esplanade from 6am to noon on Sunday.

Fusion Wayang Kulit founder Tintoy Chuo said the characters are a form of “fan art” to invoke interest in wayang kulit, which has taken a back seat in today’s lifestyle.

“We have added different traditional aspects to the five characters, for example, Green Lantern, Superman and Flash are bare-footed as traditional shadow puppet characters do not wear shoes.

“Wonder Woman’s character stands on a phoenix as most traditional wayang kulit characters stand on a mythical creature.

“With Superman, we enhanced his character with a sarong-like pant and a clawed hand as shadow puppet warriors are usually depicted with claw hands.

“When working on Batman, we made him look mysterious and gave him a bat as a mode of transport, whose wings make up the cape, making it unique,” Chuo said.

Flash, a character synonymous with running at the speed of lightning, has plenty of zigzag motifs all over to symbolise his character.

Fusion Wayang Kulit owns the fusion wayang kulit characters.

Chuo said it took tok dalang (master puppeteer) Muhammad Dain Othman from Kelantan two weeks to complete each DC character.

“We wanted to stay true to the traditions as they are intricate authentic Malaysian wayang kulit.

“It took a team of 60 of us to bring this to life,” he said, adding that the characters were made out of cowhide and painted using marker pens and translucent ink.

He also said the exhibition was to create awareness of the art form and win the appeal of the youth.

The exhibition will be on display alongside other DC Comics-inspired exhibitions, activities and exclusive retail promotions.

For further details visit www.actiontintoy.com or www.facebook.com/gurneyparagon.

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