World Intellectual Property Organization

Indonesian Cultural Heritage Takes Center Stage at WIPO Supported Event

Geneva, April 17, 2008
PR/2008/549

As part of its efforts related to the protection of intangible cultural heritage, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has partnered with the Permanent Mission of Indonesia in Geneva, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG) to support a performance of the Wayang Shadow Puppet Theatre, an exquisite portrayal of Indonesia’s living heritage. 
 
Over 400 people attended the performance, rich in skill, symbolism and legend, which took place at the Palais des Nations, UNOG on April 15, 2008. The performance was provided by the Yayasan Redi Waluyo Foundation of Indonesia, including a seven year old puppeteer, with musical support from the Gamelan Kyai Gandrung of Geneva. 
 
Speaking at the opening of the exhibition, Mr. Francis Gurry, Deputy Director General of WIPO, noted that traditional cultural expressions are part of Indonesia’s intellectual and cultural assets, and directly convey precious cultural diversity.  The intellectual property system aims at establishing an environment in which musicians, artists and performers are able to obtain just remuneration and acknowledgement for their efforts while ensuring that the public is able to enjoy and benefit from their artistic genius. As intangible cultural heritage embodies rich and distinctive creativity in constant evolution, suitably balanced intellectual property measures can also contribute to its preservation, promotion and protection. 
 
The intense discussions within WIPO’s Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore reflect the commitment of WIPO and its member states to deepening understanding of the complementarities between intellectual property protection and the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, Mr. Gurry stated. This policy work is complemented by practical initiatives such as WIPO’s Creative Heritage Project that directly support custodians of cultural heritage in identifying and promoting their interests when their cultural expressions are recorded and disseminated beyond the traditional circle. In furtherance of inter-agency cooperation, WIPO was pleased to have collaborated with UNESCO and UNOG in organizing this event.
 
The Director-General of UNOG, Mr. Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva, Mr. I. Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja, and a representative of the Director-General of UNESCO, Mrs. Kerstin Holst, also took part in the opening.
 
An exhibition of photographs of Indonesian Wayang by celebrated Japanese photographer Yoshi Shimizu will run until April 23, 2008 at the Palais des Nations.

For further information, please contact the Media Relations Section at WIPO:
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