Opera Kecoa (play)
Subject: Sexual/Gender Orientation
Artist: Nano Riatiarno
Confronting Bodies: Coordinating Minister for Political Affairs and Security
Dates of Action: 1991
Location: Indonesia, Jakarta
Description of Artwork: Nano Riatarno's play, Opera Keoca, "charts the fortunes of a band of transvestites scrabbling for a living in the midst of urban wealth."
The Incident: Opera Keoca was banned before the play was to open, the acting police colonel in the case shut it down, claiming it was vulgar. "The ban on 'Keoca' outraged Riantarno's fellow artists, even though many of them had little good to say about the play itself. A group of artists and cultural performers took up the case with the parliament and met with Sudomo, the Coordinating Minister for Political Affairs and Security."
Results of Incident: "In an about face that took many by surprise, Sudomo accepted the blame for the closing of Kecoa and said the play could be staged after all. He also promised that in the future, performances could only be banned in written form with the reasons clearly stipulated. "But despite Sudomo's assurances, Riantiano's troubles were not over. He has been trying to take 'Kecoa' to Japan for a festival next month, but has been shunted from one ministry to another in his quest for exit permits. Eventually, the festival performance had to be postponed indefinitely."
Source: Adam Schwartz, "Opening Gambits," Far Eastern Economic Review, January 24, 1991, pg 30-31