So I just returned from a week in Canberra, Australia. I went to see an exhibition currently on view at the National Gallery – Garden of the East: Photography in Indonesia 1850s-1940s – and to participate in a short conference staged in conjunction with the exhibition.
The exhibition is great, really the first of its kind.
Along with Gael Newton, FX Harsono, and Alex Supartono – as well as a few other assistant curators from the museum – I gave a 45 minute lecture about my work in Indonesia, both past and present.
The presentation and the photographs in the exhibition are wonderful. It was a great treat to see many photographs I’ve read about in person (a well execute albumen print is a delightful thing to see).
I’d never met either Pak Harsono nor Alex Supartono before, though I’ve heard about them both a great deal over the last year or two. It was great to make these connections.
There were also lots of interesting ideas and photographs presented and discussed – ideas about photography, colonialism, Indonesian history, the emergence of contemporary photography across Asia, and how photography is part of contemporary identity politics in Indonesia as well as the rest of Asia.
And I hope to have planted some seeds for my coming conference in Bandung.
Regardless, it was great to be apart of all this stuff. The exhibition is wonderful, and truly the first of its kind. And delighted for more connections for my ongoing ideas and work in Indonesia.