Moderating a talk with photographer Don Hasman

Don Hasman 2018

I will be moderating a talk with Indonesian senior photographer Don Hasman at Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta on Friday, 16 November 2018. At 78, Hasman is still as energetic as he ever was.

Don Hasman is well known for the ethnographic approach that he applies in his work, particularly in the secluded Baduy communities (both Inner and Outer) in West Java. In 2013, Hasman published the book Urang Kanekes: Baduy People, which he claimed to be the result of more than 500 visits over the course of 39 years.

The talk is held in collaboration between Pewarta Foto Indonesia Yogyakarta and Federasi Panjat Tebing Indonesia. The event is open for public and free of charge. Please come if you are around.


Some photos from the event

Me with Don Hasman at Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta. Photo: Hendra Nurdiyansyah

Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan

Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan


Photography and journalism tutor at Journalism Photography Club, Universitas Sarjanawiyata Tamansiswa, Yogyakarta


Yesterday, I was invited to share about photography and journalism with English Education students of Universitas Sarjanawiyata Tamansiswa, who just recently founded Journalism Photography Club. As their name suggests, they are more into photojournalism. I wish the newly formed student activity unit the best of lucks. ∎

Ethnophotography discussion during Festival Sumba at Department of Anthropology UGM

Etnofoto Festival Sumba

I will be giving a talk about ethnophotography in a discussion held during Festival Sumba, organised by Laboratorium Antropologi untuk Riset dan Aksi (LAURA), Department of Anthropology, Universitas Gadjah Mada. I will share some experiences and thoughts in implementing ethnography method as an approach in my photography practice.

It is interesting to note that I learned ethnophotography from some Department of Anthropology alumni during a workshop they organised years ago. They are among the first batch students of Department of Anthropology’s ethnophotography class, pioneered and taught by Prof. Dr. Paschalis Maria Laksono, M.A., himself now acts as the chairman of LAURA.

The discussion will be held on Tuesday, 23 October 2013, 14.00 at the yard of Faculty of Cultural Sciences Universitas Gadjah Mada. It is free of charge and open for public.


Professor Laksono himself officiated Festival Sumba on Tuesday, 23 October 2018. I was surprised to find out that my talk session was the first event to be held during Festival Sumba. In the opening speech, Professor Laksono mentioned that the intention of opening the whole festival with ethnophotography talk is so the audience can better prepare their ‘anthropological eye’. Thank you for those who made it and shared their thoughts in the discussion.

Etnofoto PM Laksono
Photograph by Budi N.D. Dharmawan


A documentation photo taken from Department of Anthropology UGM’s Twitter account.


A video excerpt from my presentation, taken from LAURA UGM’s Instagram account.

Kumpul Buku Foto Yogya 2018

Kumpul Buku Foto blog

I recently co-organised a photobook meet-up event called Kumpul Buku Foto Yogya 2018—after four years of absence. Together with my friend Kurniadi Widodo, we first held Kumpul Buku Foto Yogya in 2013, and then again in 2014. In each event, we invited people who love photography in general and photobooks in particular to gather and enjoy photography in the book form. People may bring their own photobooks to show to each other, as they can also browse each other’s photobooks. This year, we organised the event in celebration of 175th World Photobook Day, 13–14 October 2018. World Photobook Day commemorates the publishing of the world’s first photobook, Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions by Anna Atkins on 14 October 1843.

Other than showing and reading photobooks, during each of the events we tried to focus on and talk about a theme. In 2013, we talked about self-publishing with our friends Aji Susanto Anom and Mohammad Safir Makki, who each had just published their photobooks at the time: Nothing Personal and Juvenile Evolvere, respectively. In 2014, we focused on Indonesian photobooks, or photobooks by Indonesian photographers. Both events were held at Kelas Pagi Yogyakarta.

And—fast forward four years—this time we wanted to highlight other aspects of photobooks: the text and writing, with speaker Taufan Wijaya (freelance photographer and writer), moderated by Novan Jemmi Andrea (freelance photographer); the business and marketing, with speaker Aditya Pratama (Unobtainium Photobooks), moderated by Kurnia Yaumil Fajar (SOKONG! Publish); also the design and production, with speaker Anang Saptoto (Ruang MES 56), moderated by Kurniadi Widodo (Flock Project). For the recent event, we were kindly hosted by Yogyatourium, a creative space founded by Dagadu Djokdja.

Thank you for those who have come and brought their photobooks and shared their thoughts. Here are some photographs from the event.

Kumpul Buku Foto Yogya 2018_01
Ben Laksana and Rara Sekar of Arkademy Project visiting from Jakarta.

Kumpul Buku Foto Yogya 2018_02

Kumpul Buku Foto Yogya 2018_03
Anang Saptoto browsing the book Until Death Do Us Part by Thomas Sauvin.

Kumpul Buku Foto Yogya 2018_04
Aditya Pratama (R) with Prasetya Yudha (L) and Kurnia Yaumil Fajar (C).

Kumpul Buku Foto Yogya 2018_05
Talk on photobook design with Anang Saptoto and moderated by Kurniadi Widodo.

Kumpul Buku Foto Yogya 2018_06

Kumpul Buku Foto Yogya 2018_07

Kumpul Buku Foto Yogya 2018_08
Anang Saptoto presenting his previous photography and book design works.

Kumpul Buku Foto Yogya 2018_09

Kumpul Buku Foto Yogya 2018_10

Kumpul Buku Foto Yogya 2018_11
Responses from the audience: Deni Fidinillah from SOKONG! Publish.

Kumpul Buku Foto Yogya 2018_12

Kumpul Buku Foto Yogya 2018_13
Aditya Pratama describing Thomas Sauvin’s miniature book Until Death Do Us Part.

Kumpul Buku Foto Yogya 2018_14
More responses from the audience: Koskow from DKV ISI Yogyakarta.

Kumpul Buku Foto Yogya 2018_15

Photographs by Budi N.D. Dharmawan ∎

Mentoring for “Menelisik Jogjakarta” photo exhibition with Unit Fotografi UGM Yogyakarta

UFO Menelisik

I have been mentoring a group of students from Unit Fotografi Universitas Gadjah Mada (UFO UGM) Yogyakarta as they prepared their annual exhibition. The exhibition features works by the members of UFO UGM Batch XXV, which can be seen as the continuation of their previous exhibition, just before they were inaugurated as members.

UFO Menelisik_0000

UFO Menelisik_0210

UFO Menelisik_0290

UFO Menelisik_0323

UFO Menelisik_0325

UFO Menelisik_0326

UFO Menelisik_0327

UFO Menelisik_0329

UFO Menelisik_0389

UFO Menelisik_0393

UFO Menelisik_0394

UFO Menelisik_0405

UFO Menelisik_0449

Photographs by Budi N.D. Dharmawan /
except bottom photograph, courtesy of Danyswara Gobi/Afdruk 56

Writing for “6 in 1 +” exhibition at Sangkring Art Yogyakarta

Sangkring 1

I posted earlier that I went to Surabaya to meet with artist Jopram, as I was writing about him for an upcoming group exhibition hosted by Sangkring Art in Yogyakarta.

I attended the opening last night and met again with Jopram. I also visited the gallery the other day as Jopram was installing his works.

Before the exhibition was officially opened. Bale Banjar Sangkring, 4 Oct 2018.

The exhibition features works by seven artists from East Java: Jopram, Joni Ramlan, Hadi Sucipto, Lini Natalini Widhiasi, Beni Dewo, Isa Ansory, and Iwan Yusuf.

Exhibition view of works by Jopram:









For this exhibition, Jopram exhibited a series of works that he has been working on for a few years, in memory of his childhood and showing his gratitude towards his parents who were both farmers. Just a few days prior to the opening, Jopram’s father unexpectedly passed, while his mother had passed four years ago. Jopram quickly made a new painting (finished in two days), marking the completion of the series, depicting both his father and mother.

His works mainly consist of installations, displayed along with two large paintings, a series of photographs from his painting performances, and two videos that document the performances. During our interview, Jopram told me that in this particular exhibition, he is showing ‘events’, in comparation to ‘merely’ visual aesthetics.

Following is the text I wrote about Jopram, which I submitted to the curator Mr. Kris Budiman (in Bahasa Indonesia):

Peristiwa Jopram
Budi N.D. Dharmawan

“Selamat jalan bapak.. Selamat jalan petaniku…”

Demikian Jopram menuliskan perpisahannya kepada sang bapak, yang berpulang 14 September 2018 silam. Peristiwa itu membuat karya Jopram yang kini terpajang di dalam pameran ini telah mencapai lingkaran penuh. Karya-karya yang telah dia kerjakan selama beberapa tahun terakhir ini merupakan penelusuran artistik Jopram tentang akar dan riwayatnya, mengenai sosok bapak dan ibunya. Jopram, pelukis itu, adalah anak petani.

Sebelum menjadi petani, bapak Jopram adalah seorang jagal sapi yang sukses pada pertengahan dasawarsa 1960-an. Dengan niat melipatgandakan penghasilannya, bapak Jopram kemudian menjajal peruntungan sebagai bandar judi. Banyak nomor pemasang yang tembus, akibatnya sang bapak justru rugi besar dan banting setir menjadi petani. Jopram mengenang, waktu itu bapaknya paling miskin di kampung. Perubahan peruntungan yang begitu drastis mengguncang mental ibu Jopram sehingga mengalami depresi berkepanjangan. Keadaan itu membuat Jopram lebih sering dirawat oleh tetangga sejak dilahirkan pada 1975.

Jopram kecil sering membantu bapaknya bertani di sawah. Adalah cukup mengejutkan kemudian, bahwa sebagai anak petani miskin di kampung yang jauh dari pusat kota, Jopram bisa menjadi pelukis. Memang, di sekolah, Jopram lebih suka coret-coret menggambar daripada memperhatikan nilai mata pelajaran lainnya. Saat masih duduk di kelas 3 SD, Jopram tiba-tiba seperti mendapat ilham: Dia ingin dapat mengubah nasibnya lewat kesenian, seperti sang maestro Affandi, yang bisa menjadi kaya dengan melukis. Angan-angan itu terus dia rawat, dimulai dengan menciptakan jenama Jopram (singkatan dari nama aslinya Joko Pramono) saat menginjak kelas 1 SMP.

Jopram tidak lantas langsung menjadi pelukis, tentu saja. Laku kehidupannya yang berlika-liku mengantarkannya menjadi buruh pabrik, kuli bangunan, juga mekanik bengkel setelah meninggalkan bangku SMP. Ilham kembali mendatangi Jopram kala dia tertidur di gudang selepas bekerja: Dia bermimpi menjadi seniman yang telah berpameran tunggal. Mimpi itu membangunkan angan-angan lamanya untuk menjadi pelukis. Tanpa persiapan, Jopram memberanikan diri ikut kontes melukis dan berhasil menempati peringkat ketiga.

Gelar juara itu menjadi modal Jopram meminta restu orang tuanya untuk meneruskan studi ke Sekolah Menengah Seni Rupa (Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan Negeri 11) Surabaya pada usia 19 tahun. Sejak itulah, Jopram membenamkan diri di dalam dunia gambar dan menggeluti berbagai macam teknik melukis. Bisa dibilang, salah satu hal yang tidak berubah dari Jopram hingga kini adalah bahwa gaya lukisannya terus berubah-ubah. Bagi Jopram, identitas artistik bukanlah soal kekhasan visual, melainkan soal karakter atau rasa.

Karakter Jopram, menurut pengakuannya sendiri, adalah berkarya dengan bersumber kembali ke alam atau ke diri sendiri. Jopram memang kerap menumpahkan pengalaman dan perasaannya ke atas kanvas, khususnya di dalam karya-karyanya yang kini terpajang di sini. Dengan menelusuri kembali ingatan dan perasaannya tentang bapak dan ibunya, Jopram mengangkat hubungan orang tua dengan anak, serta berbakti dan balas budi. Jopram mau menyampaikan hal-hal yang dekat dan sederhana lewat karyanya, tidak hanya secara artistik, namun juga bisa mengena secara emosional.

Karya berjudul “Lumbung Kosong” mencerminkan ingatan Jopram tentang sang bapak, yang dia kenang sebagai sosok yang tegas, penuh semangat, dan pekerja keras. Sebagai petani, penghasilan ayah Jopram tidak imbang dengan kerja keras dan cucuran keringatnya. Konsep kesejahteraan buruh tani turut muncul di sini: Betapa ironisnya, orang-orang yang berpeluh mengolah lahan untuk memenuhi kebutuhan pangan masyarakat malah justru tidak dapat memenuhi kebutuhan hidupnya sendiri.

Paradoks menjadi konsep lain yang dimainkan Jopram secara kreatif. Sebelum mengenal mesin giling padi, petani merontokkan gabah dengan cara menginjak-injak atau menggilasnya. Proses ini sesungguhnya menyakitkan, karena padi itu mencucuk-cucuk telapak kaki. Perih yang ditanggung petani menggilas padi tidak berhenti di situ, namun berlanjut terus karena lagi-lagi petani tergilas kebutuhan hidup yang tidak dapat dipenuhi.

Sementara itu, karya berjudul “Cahaya di Lorong Kelam” memantulkan memori Jopram mengenai sang ibu, yang telah terlebih dahulu berpulang empat tahun yang lampau. Ibu Jopram kerap mendapatkan ‘penampakan’ spiritual. Ibu Jopram kemudian mencoba ‘mengusir’ gangguan ‘roh halus’ itu dengan memukul-mukulkan sapu lidi. Ibu Jopram sesungguhnya sosok yang lembut, penyabar, dan penyayang, serta tidak pernah memarahi anak-anaknya. Tidak dapat dibayangkan, perasaan macam apa yang dia pendam di dalam benaknya, terlebih lagi mengingat kondisi mentalnya yang terguncang.

Guna melengkapi rangkaian karya reflektif ini, sepeninggal sang ayah, hanya beberapa hari saja sebelum tenggat pengiriman karya untuk pameran ini, Jopram melukis kilat sebuah potret ganda ayah dan ibunya. Kanvas terakhir Jopram di dalam seri ini tersebut seolah menjadi penanda, betapa perjalanan sang seniman menelusuri lorong kenangan itu telah mencapai satu lingkaran penuh. Dari kedua orang tuanya, Jopram mewarisi keteguhan untuk dapat tetap kuat di tengah kesukaran; untuk mampu bertahan di tengah situasi terpuruk dan bisa menikmatinya. Di dalam gelaran ini, Jopram memang sedang memamerkan peristiwa.

September 2018


6 in 1 + Exhibition, 4–20 October 2018
Bale Banjar Sangkring and Sangkring Art Project


Sangkring opening1

Sangkring opening2

Photographs by Budi N.D. Dharmawan
Except for the two bottom photographs, courtesy of Sangkring Art Space

Sharing about Raden Saleh at Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember Surabaya

Budi ITS Surabaya.jpg

On Wednesday, 26 September 2018, I was asked to share about Indonesia’s first modern painter Raden Saleh (1811–1880) at Design History class, Visual Communication Design, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS) Surabaya.

My presentation was based on my report for National Geographic Indonesia magazine, published in May 2012. Thank you for professor Senja Aprela Agustin for hosting me, and for all of the students who have attended and listened.


P.S.: Can you spot which one I am? Can you spot where the cat is?