Studio Visit

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Probably best not to think of it or to call it a studio visit, but before I left Jakarta, I had the chance to meet with photographer Tino Djumini.  We met at Taman Ismail Marzuki, in a small cafe near the Jakarta Art Institute.

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We talked over coffee for quite a long time, and our conversation ranged across a lot of subjects, mostly focusing on photography and culture – specifically the characteristics and difference between America and Indonesia.

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Tino was born in Indonesia, but raised in The Netherlands.  After completing a degree in Dutch Law and Philosophy, he went on to complete an art degree at the Academy of Fine Arts Arnhem.  He currently lives in Jakarta, working as a photographer, filmmaker, and graphic designer.

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Tino is remarkably articulate and philosophical, and had lots to say about photography and Indonesia.  Given his upbringing in The Netherlands, he has obviously thought a great deal about his own cultural identity.  His work strikes me as investigation into his own identity as an Indonesian.

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We discussed two of his photographic projects.  First, Relatives/Kerabat, a series of photographs published by KITLV, looks at the remarkable diversity and complexity of Indonesian cultural identity, using the simplest of photographic means.  The second, a work in progress, looks at people of financial affluence living in Jakarta.

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In meeting with all these photographers across Java, I hope to organize an exhibition of contemporary Indonesian photography here in the States.  Tino had lots of great and challenging questions about the hows and whys of putting a show like this together.  My current ambition is to stage this exhibition at two venues, first in Bandung (and hoping to organize a conference around the exhibition), and then at the Johnson Museum at Cornell University (Cornell being famous for Indonesian studies).

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I met with Tino about two weeks ago, and now wish I wrote down more about conversation immediately; I felt to stimulated and satisfied after we met.  Again, however, I can say I am glad to have made the connection, and I am really eager to see how this show proposal progresses.

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