Running into 2018

Another year has passed, another one awaits. I started the new year with a rather quick assignment that I just finished. In the past three years, Indonesian Red Cross Society (PMI) has been implementing a community development program in seven cities that are flowed by three major river systems in Java, assisting three communities in each city. The assignment took me to Ciliwung River (Bogor Regency & South Jakarta City), Citarum River (Bandung Regency & Karawang Regency), also Bengawan Solo (Wonogiri Regency, Surakarta City, & Bojonegoro Regency).

The program had previously been kickstarted and developed since two years prior to its implementation, by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) as the international coordinator and Zurich Insurance Group as the funder. Other than Indonesia, similar program has also been implemented in Nepal, Peru, and Mexico, each by local implementing partners. The goal of the program is to build resilience in the communities affected by flood, which is considered as the biggest issue in natural hazard, causing the biggest destruction and effect worldwide.

My assignment was to visit the communities where the program is implemented and to make a narrative report on how the program has been improving the resilience (among other aspects) of the assisted communities. In January, I visited Tugu Utara & Pasir Angin in Bogor Regency; Pengadegan in South Jakarta City; Bojongsoang, Citeureup, and Dayeuhkolot in Bandung Regency; Purwadana & Parungsari in Karawang Regency; Gedong, Ngadipiro, & Gumiwang Lor in Wonogiri Regency, Sewu, Sangkrah, and Semanggi in Surakarta City, also Tulungrejo, Trucuk, and Sumbangtimun in Bojonegoro Regency. I spent February writing the report, which is going to be published as a book shortly by IFRC.

Here are some behind the scenes photos.

Interviewing program volunteers in Bojongsoang Village, Bandung Regency. Photo: Lala Jalaludin

Photojournalist Suryo Wibowo, whom I worked with for the assignment, taking pictures of Citarum, said to be the most polluted river in the world. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan

An often flooded house has been abandoned by its residents in Citeureup Village, Bandung Regency. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan

Residents installing pipes for hydroponic planting in Pengadegan, South Jakarta City. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan

Community based action team (SIBAT) volunteers in Bogor Regency, including Pasir Angin Village Head’s wife (in white trousers) and Cipayung Village Head’s wife (in green dress). Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan

Bogor selfie
Yours truly in Puncak Area, Bogor Regency. Photo: Suryo Wibowo

Street scene in Purwadana Village, Karawang Regency. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan

Rearview mirror selfie at sunset passing rice fields on the way to Parungsari Village, Karawang Regency. Karawang is the second largest rice producer in Indonesia, making it effectively a national rice reserve. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan

Interview with Mrs. Ester, a SIBAT volunteer in Sewu urban village, Surakarta City. She is the coordinator for aquaponic planting program in Surakarta City. Photo: Wanto

Taking a portrait of Mr. Tavip, a SIBAT volunteer in Semanggi urban village, Surakarta City. Photo: Wanto

A construction on Gajah Mungkur Reservoir, Wonogiri Regency. Constructed in 1976 and designed to function for as long as 100 years, the reservoir’s life time is predicted to last only until the next 15 years due to rapid siltation. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan

A pine forest in Gumiwang Lor village, Wonogiri Regency. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan

Yours truly in the field, interviewing SIBAT volunteers in Tulungrejo Village, Bojonegoro District. Photo: M. Nur Hamid

I am now back in Yogyakarta, as the assignment is mostly done. In addition to working on this assignment, I’m running into 2018 with more activities in teaching photography. Looking forward to more opportunities and experiences. Happy new year! ∎


Wisata 48 Jam: Solo (photos), DestinAsian Indonesia website, Feb 2017


6 Restoran Favorit Petty Elliott (portrait), DestinAsian Indonesia website, Dec 2016


Hindsight: 2016 in review

Another year has almost passed. What did we gain, or lose? What have I learned? This is my year end note.

2016 has not been a very good year personally. I closed 2015 by directing Kekwa, a semi-musical children stage play, which was not bad, but sure enough could have been improved (with more time and resources). The production left a mark for me as I lost a good friend (who was the music director) in the process because of a road accident. Then I started 2016 by taking care of my father, who was hospitalised because of cardiac arrest. My father passed away in February—it breaks my heart but I’m glad to have been with him and taken care of him everyday in the last two weeks of his life. I soon returned to the same hospital to take care of my girlfriend, who got dengue fever right after my father’s burial. To be honest, even until now I haven’t really been able to fully process what I felt with all that.

In April I assisted a photojournalism workshop by French photographer Christophe Loviny. Few weeks ago Christine Mourman, the director of Institut Française Indonesie Yogyakarta which supported the workshop, told me that they are planning a follow-up workshop next year. I spent May and June going arround Yogyakarta, hopping from one gallery to other art spaces as there were almost one hundred art events and exhibitions held during Jogja Art Weeks, in conjuction with the 9th edition of the artists’ art fair ART|JOG. A photo I took at ART|JOG ended up being used in their post-event thank-you note. In July Kekwa production team continued the discussion which began in April, about the possibilities to restage the play, which took us to Jakarta to visit a possible venue in August. While in Jakarta, I visited the presidential palace art collection exhibition in Galeri Nasional.

In September I gave a talk on narrative journalism at Faculty of Economics and Business Universitas Gadjah Mada. My name has been included in the book Photography in Southeast Asia: A Survey by Zhuang Wubin, which was published in October. I gave a talk on photojournalism at Faculty of Engineering UGM. At the end of the month, with friend and colleague Boy T. Harjanto we discussed how we can enforce social change through photography. I stayed in a five-star hotel in Solo in November on an assignment for a leisure travel magazine. Just before that, I gave another talk on photojournalism at Faculty of Social and Political Sciences UGM. This December, just days ago, I was invited to be a guest photographer-blogger for Canon Asia website, but the invitation was cancelled because I told them I am not a Canon brand user, although I would love to share my knowledge and experience. Well, maybe some other time, maybe with some other brand.

A little bit out of topic. The year 2016 also marked my coffee journey. I’ve been a regular coffeeshop goer since the first café opened in Yogyakarta in early 2000s, but like I said, I am a regular guy; I kept going to a number of same coffeeshops. This year I started going to different coffeeshops around the city, many of them were actually new. Some are located within the city’s central area, some are in the suburb, while some are even further away. This year, Starbucks opened five new outlets in Yogyakarta: two inside the newly opened Hartono Mall and Jogja City Mall, one in the older Galeria Mall, one next to XXI Cinema, and another one just opened a week ago on the busy and touristy Jalan Malioboro. Some have actually closed down after only weeks since their opening.

Here is a look back through some photos.

Gondolayu bridge at sunset, 7 January 2016. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan


Performance by young composer Jay Afrisando at PKKH UGM, Yogyakarta, 27 January 2016. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan (+)

Children fashion commissioned by Hermina Bawanawati for her future clothing line, featuring the cute Kanya. Yogyakarta, 31 January 2016. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan (+)


Mada being treated for dengue fever at the same building but different floor from where my father had been treated weeks before. Yogyakarta, 1 March 2016. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan

Composer Jay Afrisando continues his project with another performance at Institut Française Indonesie Yogyakarta, 26 April 2016. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan (+)

Young artist from Bandung Ruth Thiemann Beelt follows transgender artist Tamara Pertamina at Jalan Malioboro in a study for her graduation project. Yogyakarta, 22 May 2016. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan (+)


Empty lot at Jalan Kaliurang, where there is now a McDonald’s outlet, opening in November. Yogyakarta, 29 July 2016. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan

Lidia Pamungkas’ bridal shower, a month before her wedding with my old friend Dwiari PS. Yogyakarta, 17 August 2016. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan (+)

Gondomanan intersection. Yogyakarta, 14 September 2016. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan

2016-10 - AgungK.JPG
Studio of artist Agung Kurniawan, commissioned by architect Novi Kristinawati. Yogyakarta, 16 October 2016. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan (+)

Residence of writer Kusen Alipah Hadi, commissioned by architect Novi Kristinawati. Yogyakarta, 16 October 2016. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan (+)

Home-studio of artist Wedhar Riyadi, commissioned by architect Novi Kristinawati. Yogyakarta, 16 & 25 October 2016. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan (+)

Residence of entrepreneur Yan Parhas, commissioned by architect Novi Kristinawati. Yogyakarta, 18 October 2016. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan (+)

Madre bistro, commissioned by architect Novi Kristinawati. Yogyakarta, 18 October 2016. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan (+)

Merapi volcano as seen from my hotel in Solo. Central Java, 4 November 2016. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan

That empty lot at Jalan Kaliurang is now a 24-hour McDonald’s outlet where young people hang out and students sit with their computers working on assignments or graduation papers. Yogyakarta, 9 December 2016. Photo: Budi N.D. Dharmawan


I guess that would be all for now. I appreciate all the good and the not-so-good also the ordinary things. I am grateful for all the friendships I have and I am sorry for all the mistakes I have done. I hope I can still develop and progress together with all of us. Merry Christmas and happy new year. Peace on Earth, peace in our hearts as well.

Best regards,
Budi N.D. Dharmawan ∎