Jakarta International Photo Festival: Tracing Inherited History
The festival debut, which took place from 25 June–9 July 2019 in Central Jakarta, featured 13 programmes, 64 events in 17 venues, and involved 70 industry figures from photography, media and art from Indonesia and around the world. This year, JIPFest is scheduled for 13–28 November in the Jakarta Old Town.
Hundreds of years ago, the archipelago — later known as Indonesia — was made up of many Hindu and Buddhist island kingdoms as well as Islamic sultanates. Raw materials, especially spices, were the main source of income for most of the islands, and also the main attraction for colonialists.
Colonisation of at least 350 years, followed by numerous political turmoils around the time of Indonesian independence, has shaped the nationhood and its identity and is reflected in the lives of its people.
The long-term documentary project The Banda Journal by photographer Muhammad Fadli and writer Fatris M.F. investigates the legacy of Portuguese, British and Dutch colonisation of the Banda Islands, the only place that grew nutmeg prior to the Industrial Revolution. The video Song from Another Land is a fragment of the entire narrative, highlighting the fate of the descendants of the native islanders who escaped the 1621 Banda massacre, led by the Dutch United East India Company.
Historians have recorded another massacre by the Dutch Governor General Herman Willem Daendels in the early 19th century, during the construction of the Great Post Road (De Grote Postweg)— today known as the Jalan Pantai Utara or Pantura. Photographer Rony Zakaria sets out on multiple journeys along this historical road which stretches east-west across Java, capturing its vibrancy with his lyrical imagery, still and moving. Through Pantura, we witness how the road, which was intended to mobilise the military, has transformed into a main transportation route inhabited by people of many ethnicities, beliefs, religions and cultures.
After the European and Japansanese colonisation, Sukarno and Muhammad Hatta proclaimed Indonesia’s independence on 17 August 1945. A day later, the founding fathers of Indonesia became the President and Vice President of the new Republic.
A bloody coup on 30 September 1965, allegedly carried out by the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), overthrew President Sukarno and led to mass killings in 1965–1966. Because of this, PKI members, alleged affiliates and even family members, have had to carry what is seen as a political sin: they face prejudice until today. Photographer and educator Rosa Panggabean attempts to unveil this dark period of Indonesian history, working with survivors’ testimonies, particularly with the members of the Dialita choir, a group who tries to heal their trauma through singing. Rosa’s work presented in Cause/Effect comprises three chapters that were assembled in collaboration with editor Hafitz Maulana.
Inherited history leaves stigma and causes scars, but also triggers revivals. Jakarta International Photo Festival (JIPFest) invites storytellers to share how contemporary Indonesian society embraces inherited political, social and cultural turmoil.
Ng Swan Ti, Programme Director of JIPFest
Song from Another Land｜ Muhammad Fadli & Fatris MF