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Understanding Gajah Mada’s Palapa Oath

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Understanding Gajah Mada’s Palapa Oath

Artist Sohieb Toyaroja held a solo exhibition entitled “Kebo Iwa: Sukma Suci Nusantara” which was held at the Kunstkring Gallery, Menteng, Central Jakarta.

Sohieb said that Indonesian culture is increasingly being abandoned, with this solo exhibition he invites art connoisseurs to explore and bring back the glorious Indonesian culture.

Furthermore, Sohieb explained the meaning of the theme he presented in his exhibition which raised the highest spiritual dimension of the realization of the Palapa Patih Gajah Mada Oath. Shoieb said Kebo Iwa is a historical figure from Bali.


Once upon a time, Maha Patih Gajah Mada proclaimed the Palapa Oath with the sacred mission of unifying the archipelago. At that time the Majapahit Kingdom was under the control of Ratu Tribhuwana Tunggadewi. The Kingdom of Be predecessor (Bali) with Maha Patih Kebo Iwa, is one that must be conquered.

“Without the sacrifice of Kebo Iwa, there could be no Nusantara. In other words, thanks to the sacrifice of Kebo Iwa, Nusantara was born, which later became the inspiration for our fighters to establish the Homeland,” said the expressive painter at the opening ceremony of the exhibition, Thursday (14/7).

Majapahit soldiers tried to conquer Kebo Iwa on several occasions, either by means of chivalry or humiliation. The match between Kebo Iwa and Gajah Mada crossed the line of day and night, the superiority of the two made the war continue.


“In the midst of gasping for breath, Kebo Iwa asked Gajah Mada, why should there be a dispute. Why should we take each other’s lives. Reported about the Palapa Oath. About his oath to unite the archipelago. peace,” he explained.

Kebo Iwa accepted it as a noble oath. Even he was willing if the life had to be separated from the body. Kebo Iwa showed him where the door to his soul was. Patih Gajah Mada killed Kebo Iwa without jumawa. Gajah Mada knew that Kebo Iwa did not die because he lost, but was willing to die for the realization of the Palapa Oath.

“The holy spirit of Kebo Iwa is also moksa to swarga loka”, the oath of Palapa Gajah Mada became complete with the sacrifice of Kebo Iwa. The values ​​of sacrifice and heroism of Kebo Iwa disturb the “inner-creativity” of painter Sohieb Toyaroja and make it a big idea for creating works,” he said.

According to Sohieb, the Painting Exhibition “Kebo Iwa, Sukma Suci Nusantara” is an effort to uncover the deepest side of the birth of the archipelago as an inspiration to the nation’s children.

Sohieb said the Kebo Iwa exhibition was interpreted as a calling for the soul. His experience of living in Bali during one period of his life made him feel close to the Maha Patih of the Be predecessor Kingdom (8th century to 14th century).

“This nation must remember Kebo Iwa’s big role in the history of the realization of the archipelago, as the forerunner of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia,” he said.

Sohieb Toyaroja also pitched the idea of ​​building the Kebo Iwa Museum in Bali as a place of learning for the Indonesian people.

“I will convey the idea. Hopefully, through this exhibition, the road to the construction of the Kebo Iwa Museum can be realized,” he said.

History theme

The artist who was born in Kediri in 1968 is known as a painter with his characteristic expressive palette. He held many solo exhibitions with historical themes of Indonesian local wisdom and raised spiritual values.

In 2016, for example, he held a solo exhibition “Spirirual Journey” at Kunstkring. The following year, 2017, a phenomenal exhibition was held to commemorate 72 years of Indonesian independence. He gave the title “72 Indonesian Leaders & 7 Presidents of the Republic of Indonesia” at the Epiwalk Epicentrum, Kuningan – Jakarta.

In 2021, he was even named by many as the “Painter of Semar”, thanks to his solo exhibition “Semar Ngruwat Jagad”, at the Kunstkring Galleri and Jogja Gallery. Apart from that, he also manages Bellevue Art Space, in Cinere, Depok City.

The exhibition “Kebo Iwa: Sukma Suci Nusantara” can be appreciated by the general public from July 14 to July 28, 2022. This exhibition can also be used as a learning tool for the public about the history of Indonesian cultural heritage so that it is understood and preserved by the next generation of the nation. (M-4)


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