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FAJAR Riyanto

About The Artist

Yogyakarta-based Fajar Riyanto (b. 1984) was trained in photography at the Indonesia Institute of Fine Arts. His practice explores everyday life through mediums such as photography, video and performance, premised on the belief that art is an effective tool to unpack and question existing societal norms and structures. His experiences working with disempowered communities as facilitator, and also living in a marginalised neighbourhood, has fed his interest in depicting inequalities and power dynamics that operate in our world. Apart from his individual practice, he is also part of Ruang MES 56, a Yogyakarta-based collective that is engaged with photography and the moving image. 

FAJAR Riyanto

"When I started to document the process of government socialisation to the point when they demolish the building, what I can grasp from the people is the feeling of despair."

Family Portrait - Ditha's Family

Family Portrait - Ditha's Family

Family Portrait - Dwi's Family

Family Portrait - Dwi's Family

Family Portrait - Keni's Family

Family Portrait - Keni's Family

Family Portrait - Evi's Family

Family Portrait - Evi's Family

Family Portrait - Gesang's Family

Family Portrait - Gesang's Family

Fortress Landscape #1

Fortress Landscape #1

Fortress Landscape #2

Fortress Landscape #2

Fortress Landscape #3

Fortress Landscape #3

About The Artwork

Dihadapan Harapan (In the Face of Hope)

Digital image

Fajar Riyanto’s home city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, has witnessed a boom in the tourism industry in recent years, with the construction of a new airport and hotels and the establishment of restaurants and other businesses. Symptoms of this tourism-oriented push include efforts by the municipal administration to revitalize the heritage district of the city, which is inhabited by descendants of servants of the historic Yogyakarta kingdom as well as working-class, low-income households. Here, Fajar has staged photographic tableaux of these families, who are being evicted from their homes, surrounded by a wall of their own belongings. The latter mimics the shape of a fortress to signal a form of protection, but also alludes to the history of the city, which was formerly a fort. The work also includes a series of landscapes that depict the area before and after revitalisation, and the resultant displacement of the community. The artist notes: “When I started to document the process of eviction and demolishment, what I can grasp from the people is a feeling of despair. In this work, together with the community, we created an anthology book of prayer, which consists of prayers from the communities about their future without home.”

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