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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.