Sundanese Culture Appeal to the United States’ Town Planning Consultant

A professor from University of California Berkeley, United States, who is fond of Sundanese culture, Margot Rose Lederer, presented in a forum entitled "Dual Perspectives: Fifty Years of Sunda-California Cultural Exchange" that was held by the Sundanese Studies, Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Universitas Padjadjaran in the Japanese Study Center Laboratory. FIB Unpad, Jatinangor, Thursday (1/9/2022). (Photo: Yuli Hantoro)*

[Kanal Media Unpad] A professor from the University of California Berkeley, United States, who is fond of Sundanese culture, Margot Rose Lederer, stated that Sundanese art never ceases to be known internationally.

It was previously mentioned by Margot when she presented in a forum entitled “Dual Perspectives: Fifty Years of Sunda-California Cultural Exchange” which was held by the Sundanese Studies in the Japanese Study Center Laboratory, Thursday (1/9/2022). The forum was held as part of the “FIB World Class University” program.

Margot stated that Sundanese arts, including music, drama, and theater, have developed in California. In the United States itself, The Gamelan music from Sunda has been exhibited since 1933 at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Even recently, the musical instrument is still stored in the Field Museum Chicago.

Furthermore, Sundanese art continues to take part in many global events held in the United States, Asia, Africa, and Europe.

“In practice, many great Indonesian artists, especially Sundanese artists, are involved. Namely Enoch Atmadibrata, Irawati Durban Ardjo, Nugraha Sudiredja, Nining Sekarningsih, Rucita, Undang Sumarna, and Endo Suanda,” Margot said in a release by Kanal Media Unpad.

In California, Sundanese art has been flourishing since 1974 and is well preserved today. A set of gamelan instruments can be found in several educational institutions in California, such as the University of California Santa Cruz and the University of California UC Davis.

“Along with other art forms such as wayang golek, theater or drama, as well as the rampak dance which are often played and introduced,” she added.

In front of the audience, Margot talked about her fondness for Sundanese culture. Apart from her family who built her love of culture, she also thinks that art and culture are the way of expressing her concern for social, natural, and economic matters.

The compassion and emotion that can be felt in Sundanese music, including the strains of the flute, the friction of the fiddle, and the passionate beating of the drums further foster Margot’s love for Sundanese art.

This became Margot’s motive for learning and pursuing Sundanese art. Recently, Margot is able to perform the Kupu-kupu and Sulintang dances. Her ability to dance is recognized as a gender expression, especially because it is not limited by gender roles.

“When dancing, a woman has the right to be anything and play any role according to what she wants to convey. Through dance, a woman is given the freedom to express herself,” said Margot.

Not only studying in California, Margot also came to Indonesia to learn various Sundanese dances. One of the areas she visited was a village in Cirebon. Her interest made Margot establish relationships and friendships with various institutions in order to maintain, introduce, and develop Sundanese culture internationally.

The Sundanese cultural exchange relationship with California is expected to be a positive thing that will have a reciprocal relationship that positively impacts the sustainability of Sundanese culture. The international collaboration is expected to further strengthen the existence of Sundanese culture on a global scale.

Her love of Sundanese arts has greatly influenced Margot’s expertise in town planning. Margot emphasized that culture plays a significant role in the town planning process.

“To create a public space and open creative minds, cultural elements should be considered more deeply in order to appreciate the history and struggles of the great people behind the creation of art and culture,” she said.

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