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Flood Disasters and Visual Empathy

Agus Dermawan T.

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, January 15, 2020  /  01:54 pm
Flood Disasters and Visual Empathy

“A Flood on Java” by Raden Saleh. (JP/Agus Dermawan T)

Floods have always been a source of inspiration for visual artists. Indonesia’s legendary painter Raden Saleh (1807-1880), for example, painted Banjir di Jawa (A Flood on Java) in 1863, which depicts dozens of people clinging to a rooftop to escape the raging floodwater below. Sunaryo’s Jakarta Tenggelam 2002 (Jakarta Drowned 2002) is an interesting example of a more abstract take on floods, with the whole of Jakarta –– in the form of an aerial map or photo –– being inundated by brownish rain and tidal waters. Jakarta’s massive flood in 2002 also prompted Ketut Sudila to record it from Bali, where he observed Jakarta on the television. He created Banjir Jakarta (Jakarta Floods) in a traditional decorative style. It was a major highlight exhibited at the Indofood Art Awards 2003 in Jakarta. “Jakarta Floods” by Ketut Sudila. (JP/Agu...