Bunda came about in the same spirit of perseverance in the face of hardship. With the increasing negative sentiments against Muslims, immigrants and minorities, I chose to re-visit my experience as a child to learn about the settings I am in. I was raised by a Muslim woman, my “other mother”, while my parents worked hard to provide for me and my sister.

The work is a celebration of a complicated life. It centers around the role of women and motherhood in the midst of societal struggle for inclusion and diversity. Enlisting family members, students and youths from a local organisation in Indonesia, I set up stages in their homes, temple, and school. Employing the large format photography process, I invite them to act out their traumas, fears, frustrations, and pessimism in hopes for a more hopeful rendering of the future, without disregarding the mess of the past and present.

Sharing my experience and the experience of those close to me to not only give us a voice, but also to speak to others around the world in similar situations. It’s really easy to feel small and undeserving, especially for being a minority or coming from a developing country. More importantly, constantly dealing with threats because of one’s complexion, or ways of being, is very demoralizing. I hope to create a space where my subjects and I can have a conversation and acknowledge the hardship and joy of our lived experience, and then extend it to the viewer.

About the Artist
Leonard Suryajaya’s work explores intricate and complicated layers of selfhood in the context of cultural background, intimacy, sexual preference, and personal displacement.

Influenced by the cultural milieu of inter-ethnic relations in Indonesia, he utilises photography, video, along with elements of performance and installation.

Through the use of personal narrative and storytelling, his work tests the boundaries of intimacy, community and family and show how the everyday is layered with histories, meanings and potential.

International Portfolio Showcase

National Library Plaza
05 Oct—30 Oct
Free admission