Monthly Archives: September 2009


Since that day a few months ago, when I sat down with some friends from the Bali Creative Community to see if anyone was interested in doing a major photo festival for Indonesian photography in Bali in 2010, things started rolling fast. Fairly quickly the board established itself: Rudolf Dethu of Suicide Glam, Ayip of Matamera design, Marlowe Bandem as well as Robin Malau (who came on temporarily to help us out with IT). Soon some of my fellow “senior” Indonesian photographers, Firman Ichsan, Oscar Motuloh, Tara Sosrowardoyo, and Darwis Triadi were on board as co-curators.

From overseas Raghu Rai (Magnum, India), Linda Connors (who teaches photography at San Fransisco’s School of Fine Arts and works with 8×10″), and John Stanmeyer of VII expressed serious interest in participating. All three are very inspiring photographers and we are thrilled to have their support!

We did a little teaser at the digital forum event, FGD, in Jakarta at the beginning of August 2009, and then Alila hotel Ubud generously offered us a venue for our first pre-event, Imagemakers of the Future, an exhibition featuring young upcoming Indonesian photographers. That event will take place this coming 10th of October at 5 pm at the Alila Ubud.

In the coming weeks I will feature some of the photographer’s involved on this blog. Today we’ll start with Andika Wahyu. (the original Indonesian is featured below)


I, Andika Wahyu, was born in Kebumen, Central Java on the 14th of July 1983. I first became interested in photography because of my admiration for the photos
I saw in newspapers when I was primary school. I had so many questions running around in my mind. Slowly the answers revealed themselves when I
Became more involved in photography during my time in the student activity unit,
FCC (Fisip Fotografi Club) at the Universitas Sebelas Maret in Surakarta
In the beginning of 2001. While I was completing my degree in comunication sciences at UNS I had the opportunity to do on the job training at the sports
Tabloid “Bola” and also at the Aantara news agency. After completing my studies I joined Antara Foto-Indonesia Press Photo Agency as a photojournalist
In 2006, and continue to work there now.

PHOTOGRAPHY for me is a miraculous tool, the stopper and freezer of time, and a media for contemplation. Regarding photographyt in Indonesia I would just
like to emphasize that we shouldn’t just judge photography from the esthetic point of view. The debate and discussion about the esthetic aspect is over. We are waiting for photography to play abigger “role” in Indonesia so that it can bring more benefit to the people.

Saya, Andika Wahyu lahir di Kebumen, Jawa Tengah pada 14 Juli 1983.
Ketertarikan pada fotografi berawal dari kekaguman pada foto-foto yang
terpampang di koran-koran waktu saya masih di sekolah dasar. berbagai
macam pertanyaan berkecamuk dalam diri waktu itu. dan perlahan
jawabannya mulai terkuak ketika saya mulai terlibat lebih dalam dengan
fotografi di unit kegiatan mahasiswa (UKM) Fisip Fotografi Club (FFC)
Universitas Sebelas Maret Surakarta di awal tahun 2001. Selagi
merampungkan studi di jurusan Ilmu Komunikasi UNS, saya berkesempatan
melakukan on job training sebagai fotografer di Tabloid Olahraga BOLA
dan Kantor Berita Indonesia ANTARA. Setelah merampungkan studi saya
bergabung dengan Antara Foto-Indonesia Press Photo Agency-sebagai
pewarta foto mulai tahun 2006 sampai sekarang.
FOTOGRAFI bagi saya adalah alat ajaib, sang penghenti dan pembeku
waktu, serta media kontemplasi. Tentang fotografi di Indonesia, saya
hanya ingin menekankan bahwa janganlah fotografi hanya dinilai dari
aspek estetis saja…perdebatan dan perbincangan aspek estetis telah
selesai…menunggu fotografi di Indonesia lebih “berperan” dengan
segala kelebihannya agar lebih bisa membawa manfaat bagi masyarakat…

Memories of the Sacred

An exhibition of my photographs picked from the last 30 years in Bali, Memeories of the Sacred, opens at the Amandari in Ubud, Bali, on the 2nd of October 2009, and runs thru the whole month.



It is once again time for all Muslims, as well as those of us who have close ties to Muslims and are so inclined, to beg for forgiveness from those around for all misdeeds of body and mind. The Indonesian phrase “Maaf Lahir Bathin” is the formula of the day during Idul Fitri, which marks the end of the month of fasting and restraint. Presumably, during Ramadan Muslims have reflected deeply on their faults and sins.

Muslim readers permitting, if we broaden the context a bit to include most of humankind, the psychology of apologizing is often merely associated with a desire to rid oneself of ‘guilt’ rather than really accepting responsibility for one’s mistakes and being determined to repair one’s ways.

Take a couple of examples which have somehow appeared on my radar. In Thailand there is a chronic trend of politicians (and military men) to pull off the most reprehensible of actions, then to kneel in what seems to be faux abjection before the King to ask to be forgiven and absolved. This is a recurring phenomena – be it a coup or whatever. One gets the impression that this has somehow become institutionalized as a parallel political system. Little of substance changes.

More recently, I was sitting in one of the few outdoor cafés in the Mayfair area of London watching a steady flow of shiny Rolls Royces and gleaming Bentleys purr by. What came to mind was the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent rebuke of bankers who are now going back to the business of greed as usual, condemning the “failure to name what was wrong”. In the case of most bankers and financial speculators involved, apologies were rare even after their practices bankrupted so many people around the globe. What is also interesting in Dr Rowan Williamson’s statement is his interpretation of ‘idolatry’ as that of “projecting of reality and substance onto things that don’t have them”.

To jump off the Abramic wagon for a moment, in Buddhism that definition certainly rings a bell. According to Buddhism, being taken in by something which has no intrinsic value certainly is the perennial road to disaster. In fact in those branches of Buddhism which advocate confession (or more precisely admission and repentance) it is important to recognize the falsity of this aura of permanence and reality which things acquire in our minds, laying the groundwork for greed, hate, and so forth. For ‘confession’ to be effective it is first necessary to recognise our faults – which in turn have their root in our “idolatry” of the impermanent etc.

It is also necessary to be determined to try not repeat the mistake. In the end our self serving ways don’t serve us well. That is the crux of seeking forgiveness. If we just do an annual “brush off” it doesn’t contribute much to a better world.

And apologizing effectively requires a good sense of timing. We need to know not only what our faults are and regret them, but we need to be sure that those of whom we beg forgiveness are also ready to accept. Hopefully this Lebaran/Hari Raya/Idul Fitri we will be truly aware of why we are apologizing, and truly ready to accept each other’s apologies. Maaf Lahir Bathin.


I have to admit being slightly irritated by Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo’s fence sitting blog article about his visit to Tibet, also published in today’s Singapore Straits Times, ever so subtly ‘substantiating’ China’s supposed rights over Tibetan affairs. There is even a distortion of the so-called right of “approval” that the Chinese court supposedly had over the nomination of high lamas in Tibet. Historically this was simply a diplomatic process which had virtually nothing to do with the actual decision making process – and let’s not forget that China too in it’s day was indirectly vassal to Tibet!

Basically his only interest is whether Tibet is a wedge or a link between China and India. Forgive me for thinking that the Foreign Minister of this small “Switzerland in Asia” would like to play the Great Game.

There are various instances in his article which purport to be ‘reasonable’ which in fact are simply endorsements of the PRC’s claims of backwardness etc such as pointing to the lagging economy of the Tibetans compared to the Han in Tibet. No kidding – there is ample evidence of the discrimination along ethnic and political lines since the so-called liberation of Tibet.

Then there is a very contentious line which states “During the Cultural Revolution, Tibetan youths, following Chinese youths in other parts of the country, engaged in an orgy of destruction.” Where have you been Your Excellency? Tibetan youths willingly engaging in destruction of their own culture, inspired by Chinese youth? A handful perhaps inducted and forced may have joined, but it is hardly evidence of a voluntary movement on the part of the Tibetan youth. Accept the fact it was the Han Chinese, the PRC. the PA who were responsible.

Regarding his view that the Tibetans are still medieval, in this world there a lot of people who are.. But in the Tibetans case, ironically, those who are still in that situation are there because of PRC dominance over who gets the benefits of their economic ‘injections’, not because monasteries are still holding serfs in slavery (something which even historically was not so clear). Perhaps it would do George Yeo some good to examine the quality of life in China at the turn of the century, in the mid century, and even in the 80’s.

I am not sure what your mission is Mr Yeo, but it clearly is not about getting the facts straight.