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Introducing Imam Suja'i's Rebana Masterpieces: Showcasing Fine Craftsmanship to the World through Apikri

  • 2024 Feb 01
  • Posted By : Editor

Imam Sudja'i is a graduate of pondok pesantren (Islamic boarding school) in Bumiayu, Central Java. While studies in the pesantren, little Imam have seen the potential of Bumiayu, especially Brebes as the center of rebana (tambourine) handicraft, challenges him try to made for sale. With his family background as artisan, and by learning from people around the pesantren, little Imam knows about how to make crafts. Imam sales his creation to other pesantrens to realize his desires, finance his own school.

Pass out of the pesantren, still continues his rebana business and establish the PUTRA MANDIRI in 1959. In 1961, when the government was recruiting all citizens become the Indonesian National Army (TNI), his nationalism spirit raises and hi has received. Although he has been an army, his entrepreneurial spirit remains. With his assignment to many places across the country, gives the idea to market products to all over Indonesia.

Imam is also ran his business marketing, while in the army. For production affairs, he submitted to the family in Brebes that has been keen the hereditary handicraft business. He also produce many variant, such as bedug (large hanging drum used to summon people to prayer), gendang (Javanese traditional drum), and drums, upon the buyer request that wants other products. PUTRA MANDIRI ever gets orders of bedug from SCTV for the mosque in Bantul.

Beside the leather and wood as his raw materials, he is also using the application of bronze, brass, aluminum cans, and PVC pipe. Imam always keeps providing quality products with fine finishing, keeping the customers’ satisfaction. After marriage in 1965, he stills the army and markets the PUTRA MANDIRI’s products to market to overseas. His first international order came from Australia, and then followed the US. For Indonesia has spread in Yogyakarta, Central Java, East Java, Batam, and Aceh.

Imam decided to take early retirement, when the task in Yogyakarta, and lived in Sleman to focus on the business of PUTRA MANDIRI. He decide to no accept the employees in the production business, with the taking of half-finished goods from Brebes, and the finishing has assisted by his own children and wife.

APIKRI known the PUTRA MANDIRI’s product in 1998 and establish cooperation with them. Order from APIKRI routine came to him. Design or form of its products according to buyer request and combined with his idea. He also received orders to make the chess and karambol game.

Raw materials used are mango wood, munggur wood, and goat leather. He was cooperation with people who are in Brebes in the case of raw materials procurement. The rest of the raw materials can be used for other smaller products. Some obstacles he faced, such as:

  • In the rainy season, the wood raw material sometimes is not available or not dry yet.
  • The rainy season is also make the leather is hard to dry and need a long time.
  • The un-fairly competition among the artisans.
    • Imam has no more young, he’d assisted by his son to continue the business and one of his daughter in Serang to market his products at that area. He keeps maintain relations with his business partners also. (lik*)