Thursday, January 15, 2009

Chamber for Women. Notes from Women's Chamber Jakarta Biennale 2009

By : Irma Chantily

Photo exhibitions is a means of communication between photographers and the public. These photos portray the stories of restlessness, social and psychological realities, happiness and just about anything. It's these kinds of experiences that are shared with the public, to widen their horizons or even arouse controversy and curiosity.

The Chamber for Women Exhibition was officially closed on January 9th 2009. The all women photographers, attempted to show the social problems in Jakarta. Around 25 photography works using various approaches, were displayed at the Cipta III Gallery and Oktagon Gallery from December 2nd until January 9th 2009.

The exhibition was carried out by Mata Perempuan a group of women photographers, who have exhibited their work twice before. Though both were themeless, they focused on a much more women's approach. This time around they were challenged to portray the subjectivity of women and the problems of the city through photography.

As one of the events of the Zone of Understanding Jakarta Biennale 2009, the Chamber for Women Exhibition attempted to address the problems that emerged during the first stages of the city's development - that undermined the humanistic elements. That when people adjust to the city structures and not vice versa, spatial problems were bound to arise. Through the exhibition, Mata Perempuan tried to emphasize these concerns – that later were under debate, and perhaps different compared to the the problems faced by men..

The eight photographers involved in this exhibition include : Aiko Urfia Rakhmi, Christina Phan, Evelyn Pritt, Ruth Hesti Utami, Julia Sarisetiati, Keke Tumbuan, Malahayati, dan Stephany Yaya Sungkharisma. Each come from various backgrounds, making the exhibition dynamic. For instance Yaya with her surreal style who captured a hand coming out of a noodle bowl or a mouth that become one with a shower. Or Evelyne Pritt's city report – that emphasized the rising land prices and unoccupied land in the city. Hesti also used her own approach playing with symbols – bandages as a sign of sickness, attached to three faces overlooking the cold sea of concrete buildings.

Apart from the these works, 20 other photos were on display for 300 visitors. Many stories were shared along with questions, suggestions, and comments from the public. Although for now, stories about women and the city through this photo exhibition may have have come to an end, there are still many more to be revealed the next time around.

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