“Kisah Mata” book discussion and photography coaching clinic

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The book “Kisah Mata” by Seno Gumira Ajidarma has recently been reissued with minor revision and addition. The publisher is holding a book discussion and photography coaching clinic to mark the occasion. The author will be present along with Kris Budiman and me. The book discusses about photography and meaning in philosophical discourse, and was originally written as a master’s thesis by the author, who is now the Rector of Jakarta Arts Institute (IKJ). Kris Budiman will comment on the discourse as an image reader, while I will add another perspective as an image maker. The event will take place on 9 March 2017 at Auditorium Institut Français Indonesie (IFI) Yogyakarta.

More info here.

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GALANG PRESS

UPDATE: A documentation photo of the event from Galang Press. ∎

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Talk on “Sharing with Photography”

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I am invited to join as a speaker in this talk show on “Sharing with Photography”, organized by Galang Press foundation in conjunction with a photo exhibition commemorating the 10th anniversary of Merapi volcano’s 2006 eruption and the 6th anniversary of its 2010 eruption. The exhibition features works by photojournalists Boy T. Harjanto (at that time covering for The Jakarta Globe newspaper), Wawan H. Prabowo (Kompas daily), and Slamet Riyadi (stringer for The Associated Press news agency).

The talk show is inspired by Boy T. Harjanto’s practice of giving back to the communities around the slopes of Merapi volcano affected by the eruption. Boy collected his work into a photo book titled Merapi 120 FPS and gave few hundred copies of it to the people of Merapi for free. Those people sold the books to tourists and used the money to rebuild their lives, as they had lost almost everything (houses, cattles, farms, even their lands) during the 2010 eruption. In the talk, Boy will explain more of this practice, what the idea was behind it and how he did it, while I will try to broaden the discussion by presenting similar practices throuhout the history of photography.

The talk show will be held this Sunday, 30 October 2016 at 15.00.
It is open for public and free of charge. ∎

Raden Saleh exhibition and talk show

Sari Handayani, Oki Permatasari, Ratna Mufida, Bambang Witjaksono

Sari Handayani, Oki Permatasari, Ratna Mufida, Bambang Witjaksono

On 16 June morning, I came to Jakarta for the talkshow at Raden Saleh exhibition with four friends: Sari, Oki, Ratna and Bambang. They are art workers in Yogyakarta whom I often hang out with. They wanted to see the exhibition first before attending the talkshow in the afternoon. We decided on the last minute to go from Yogyakarta by airplane, after initially we planned to take the train. The tickets are quite the same price anyway. At the exhibition, we met some other friends from Yogyakarta like Dwe Rachmanto and Melisa Angela from Indonesian Visual Art Archive, Brigitta Isabella of Kunci Cultural Studies Center, Antariksa of Indonesia Contemporary Art Network, artists Agung Kurniawan, Santi and Otom of Indieguerillas, Uji Handoko, and Gintani Swastika, among others.

In the afternoon, people from National Geographic Indonesia started to come, like Mahandis Yoanata who edited my article on Raden Saleh and would moderate the talkshow, Reynold Sumayku the photo editor, Vega Probo the editor of NG Traveler Indonesia, Fredy Susanto who just finished the design and layout for the next edition of NGI and NGTI, Hafidz Novalsyah the photographer for NGTI, and Didi Kasim the editor in chief of NGI, among others.

Raden Saleh talkshow with Werner Kraus and me, moderated by Mahandis Yoanata from National Geographic Indonesia. © Budi N.D. Dharmawan

Raden Saleh talkshow with Werner Kraus and me, moderated by Mahandis Yoanata from National Geographic Indonesia. © Budi N.D. Dharmawan

I was quite nervous, to be honest, to speak side by side with Werner Kraus who is the expert of Raden Saleh, with 20+ years of research. He spoke first by telling the audience the stories of the painter when he was young, and how he developed his skills and expanded his royal network in Europe. Afterwards, I shared my experiences in doing my research for the NGI article to the audience. I prepared a slideshow with some unpublished photos for my presentation. More or less of my story that I presented can also be read here.

After the talkshow, some people from the audience stopped me to ask more questions, like how to be a National Geographic Indonesia contributor. All of them asked one same question: How long it took to do the article. When I told them it took me one whole year to research, travel, photograph, and write, they looked surprised. One guy said that he thought it only took two weeks. I smiled to him, and said to myself, I wish it could be done in two weeks, so I could spend the rest fifty weeks doing other things. But it did take a year. ∎

Talk show at Raden Saleh exhibition

It took two hundred years after he was born, that he gets his first (posthumous) exhibition in his own country—also the world’s first monographic exhibition of his work. Raden Saleh Syarif Bustaman, whose life and work I traced in a National Geographic Indonesia article [1] [2] last month, is Indonesia’s first modern painter. Born in Semarang, Central Java in 1811, educated and lived in Europe since 1829, he came back to his homeland Java in 1852. Five years later he painted his most important canvas: The Arrest of Prince Dipanagara, the leader of the Java War 1825–1830. He gave the painting to the King of Holland. The painting was returned to Indonesia 121 years later in 1978, and it has since been very rarely seen by the public, as it was always kept in the Presidential Palaces. It is now put on view for the Indonesian public, along with some 40 other original works by the Raden Saleh: paintings and drawings, also lithographs. Very rare opportunity indeed.

During the two-week long exhibition, there will be a talk show discussing Raden Saleh’s not-much-known life and work. I will be a speaker in the talk show, together with Dr. Werner Kraus, a German scholar who is the prime historian of Raden Saleh, and the curator of this exhibition. He will give more insights to Raden Saleh’s life, while as a photographer/writer for National Geographic Indonesia, I will share my experience in tracing Raden Saleh’s footsteps on assignment for the magazine. The talk show will be held at the exhibition venue, Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jalan Medan Merdeka Timur, Jakarta, just right across Gambir train station. If you are around, come join us on 16 June at 15.00. The event is free of charge, but the space may be limited.

Here is a leak: I will show some unpublished photos and talk a little bit about the structure of working on an assignment for National Geographic Indonesia. Curator Werner Kraus will also give a guided exhibition tour.

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