The Jakarta Post
Women walked in groups heading to a house, ignoring the blaring sound of pop music from across the street. Rows of parked motorcycles crammed together outside the house on Jl. Bukit Berbunga in the hillside town of Batu, East Java, which has been turned into a museum.
Museum Omah Munir, or the House of Munir, is hosting an art exhibition, a rare collaboration between a photojournalist and a photography installation artist that opened on Monday.
The exhibition, titled '49-39=10 Tahun Menolak Diam' (Ten Years of Resisting Silence), will be held until the end of December at the house to commemorate the birthday of the late house owner, Munir Thalib, the human rights fighter who was poisoned on a plane while on his way to the Netherlands.
Munir was born on Dec. 8, 1965.
'If he was alive, he would be 49 years old now,' said widow Suciwati at the exhibition opening.
A photojournalist with news agency Antara, Fanny Octavianus, and photographer Yaya Sung had documented the victims of human rights abuses in their struggle for justice.
The subject of their work was a combination of arts, communications and activism that reflected the resilience of relatives and friends who had lost loved ones to a series of human rights violations and who have been gathering across from the Presidential Palace in Jakarta every Thursday since 2007.
'The pictures I prepared for the exhibition had partly been taken for work assignments since 2006 and for my personal projects to capture their silent struggle standing on the street holding umbrellas,' said Fanny.
He exhibited 94 pictures arrayed on a frame that was 20 meters in length.
Yaya Sung created an installation of 47 thumb-sized pictures, an album of Munir while at work and the people's movement demanding justice for his unnatural death. To see the pictures clearly, visitors have to use magnifying glasses.
'I worked on this project for two years by collecting documentation pictures of Munir from his family and taking pictures of the movement,' she said.
Her other work was made of a collection of merchandise from the 'Kamisan' (Thursdays) activists, such as T-shirts, mugs, stickers and pictures of their activities.
Author and social culture observer Seno Gumira Ajidarma said that the exhibition brought different dimensions for looking at the issue.
The works of Fanny as a photojournalist, he said, were straight to the point in conveying the message, while Yaya's artistic works freed the imagination.
'The exhibition in itself embraces freedom and becomes a part of social-political aspirations,' he said.
The exhibition was the first ever held in the museum, the opening of which was attended by the residents of the neighborhood.
The exhibition was also held as part of the activities commemorating Human Rights Day on Dec. 10.
The screening of Joshua Oppenheimer's documentary Senyap (The Look of Silence) and the launch of book titled 30 Hak (30 Rights) are also to take place at the museum during the exhibition.
' Photos by Aman Rochman