[2006] News from Yogya, through lens and heart

Sumber Arsip : The Jakarta Post Monday, July 10, 2006

Feature

News from Yogya, through lens and heart

There is something about the photograph of two framed illustrations of
chariots, that are lying on the ground amid rubble from villagers’ homes, that
rattles gallery patrons.

The one-by-two-meter monochrome photo titled Pertanda (Augury) was central to
the fund-raising exhibition News from Yogya through the lens and through the
heart. The exhibition of 50 monochrome photos ended at the Malang municipal
library July 9.

“To some people of Yogyakarta and Central Java, it was interpreted as a
portent of the devastation that was to come,” said Lendy Widayana, one of the three
photographers from Surabaya and Malang whose pictures of the earthquake
tragedy in Yogyakarta are being display in the traveling exhibition.

Taken in Imogiri village in Bantul regency the day after the 5.9-magnitude
tremor, Pertanda was chosen by photographers and curators Lendy, Petra
Wangsadiharja and Ajie Hendro Susanto to be hung in the entrance of the library.

For Lendy, however, Pertanda is a representation of their belief that the
calamity, which wreaked havoc on the life of communities in Yogyakarta, Bantul,
Klaten and surrounding areas, was much worse than news reports suggested.

The chariots are from the Hindu epic Bharatayuda, of which war and
destruction are essential components.

“Television reports have so far presented only brief accounts of the grave
impact of this catastrophe. We just wish to communicate the message that what
happened there was really devastating and its survivors are in dire need of
immediate assistance.

“How to put this across to everybody has been our concern since its
occurrence,” said Lendy, who is also an information technology designer.

The three photographers said all the works on display would be auctioned off
and the proceeds put toward rebuilding and repairing education facilities that
were damaged in the earthquake.

Petra said the majority of school buildings in quake-affected areas, from
primary schools to colleges, were destroyed.

“Donations have been pouring in but, in education, there has been no
assistance, though children need to get on with their studies,” Petra said.

The three also wanted to avoid being labeled “disaster tourists”, who visited
disaster areas without offering any assistance.

“We first came here to give aid, which we had gathered from our friends in
Malang and Surabaya. But as the situation was far worse than we had expected, we
decided to report everything through photographs,” Lendy said.

Shown in a single hue, the fear, anxiety and despair on people’s faces the
day after the quake seem more pronounced.

Ayah (Father), a photograph of a child kissing the cheek of his father, who
is being carried away on a stretcher, depicts the sincerity and resignation
typical of Yogyakarta and Central Java communities.

Taken by Petra in Bantul, the image shows how feelings of love were stronger
than despair over material losses.

Berbagi (Sharing), a photo of kerosene being distributed to survivors,
comments on how people came together after the quake, regardless of race,
nationality or ethnicity. A Malaysian colonel is pictured dressing a survivor’s wounds.

Dini, 24, a student at Malang’s Merdeka University, was moved to tears by a
photograph of quake survivors staring into space.

“I can’t imagine what it must have been like,” she said.

One-by-two-m works are priced at Rp 500,000, but larger prints will be
included in the charity auction.

(After Malang, the show will travel to Surabaya, Denpasar and Yogyakarta. In
the East Java capital, it will be displayed at Orasis Gallery from July 19 to 26.)

Wahyoe Boediwardhana, Malang, East Java


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