Against forgetting


I am recently curating a photography exhibition by two photographers, Rangga Purbaya (Indonesian) and Nora Scheidler (German), titled “Stories Left Untold” [1] [2] and is currently on show at iCAN Gallery, Yogyakarta, through 28 October 2015. We started talking about this exhibition around a year ago, so in one interview I said that I am glad that the show is finally materialized.

The two projects being shown side by side are personal stories for each photographers. Both stories are intertwined with larger historical events that determined each countries’ future. Rangga’s is about his grandfather who disappeared in Yogyakarta during the 1965 events, while Nora’s is about the Hohenschönhausen prison where his father was once held in 1968–69.

I emphasised my curatorial essay on against forgetting, as I found it is what the two works are about. Nora made portraits of the former political prisoners of Hohenschönhausen to tell their stories, how ridiculously they were caught and held for. Nora is also probably the last person to photograph the prison in its original condition, before it was renovated. Rangga retraced his grandfather’s disappearance so his descendants will not forget about him and the dark history of Indonesia.

The exhibition is a part of German Festival which celebrates the 25th anniversary of the German reunification (after the fall of the Berlin Wall), which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the 1965 events in Indonesia. The exhibition is funded by Goethe-Institut Indonesia.

“Stories Left Untold” photography exhibition
Nora Scheidler and Rangga Purbaya
Curated by Budi N.D. Dharmawan

2–28 October 2015, open Tue–Sun 10.00–19.00,
Indonesia Contemporary Art Network (iCAN) Gallery,
Jalan Suryodiningratan 39, Yogyakarta.
Free admission, open for public.

Opening 2 October 2015 19.00.
Artists’ talk 3 October 2015 16.00.



Calm after the storm

Jogja ArtWeeks 2015 review and evaluation meeting, Yogyakarta, 13 July 2015. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan

I have been busy running Jogja ArtWeeks initiative since last March. The event finally run in June throughout the month, after a whole lot of preparation under some restrictions. We were short of time and resources. We just had our review and evaluation meeting last night, where we also talked about our next step. Yes, we are already warming up.

My involvement in Jogja ArtWeeks was started from myself, when a friend asked me how to contact another friend. After contacted, this other friend then contacted me and asked me to join. He asked me at that time just to help out a bit, I had not known I would be involved much deeper eventually. I joined just to help this friend, but along the way I learned to support the spirit of the initiative.

Last June was our first time running the initiative, while the initiative was also the first of its kind, so we didn’t know where to look to learn from. So we learned from the experience, right decissions or mistakes, what to anticipate next time around. We listened to all kinds of feedback and comments, even questions and complaints, from friends, public, stakeholders and shareholders, all words that could find their way to get to us. We will get better.

Structured chaos

Cloudy evening after a light rain at Kentungan junction. Yogyakarta, 12 Mar 2015. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan

Back in Yogyakarta after a flash trip to Jakarta to present my recent work at a National Geographic Indonesia readers forum at the National Gallery in conjunction with Aku Diponegoro exhibition, then short trip to Bandung to speak at a roundtable discussion regarding the community endorsement in photography, held at Lawangwangi Creative Space as part of Bandung Photo Showcase 2015.

I have some homeworks here back home. Loads of them. And more to come.

Yudi Ahmad Tajudin read poems at Garasi

I attended Garasi Performance Institute’s (Teater Garasi) new studio open house the other day, 30 Jan 2015. The event was started in the afternoon with a discussion and book launching (Bertukar Tangkap dengan Lepas) marking their 20th anniversary—it was formed in December 1993. At night, they invited a theater group from Solo, Sahita, and a local folk band, Sungai, to perform. The night was casual with drinks and snacks and talks. Yennu Ariendra kept the music playing while Erson Padapiran played his trumpet. Yudi Ahmad Tajudin, Garasi’s general director, suddenly took the stage and read poems.

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Photographs by Budi N.D. Dharmawan ❚