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York College of PA Galleries to feature exhibition from Jan. 24 to March 9 that shares stories buried within the Indonesian landscape

January 18, 2024
Indonesian Art Cinema

York College of Pennsylvania’s Galleries will feature a photography and video exhibition that shares stories buried within the Indonesian landscape from Jan. 24 through March 9. The exhibition, Kesaksian Tanah (Testimony of the Soil), is open to the public free of charge. A panel discussion featuring the artists will begin at 5 p.m., Feb. 1, followed by a reception with refreshments in DeMeester Recital Hall. The exhibition and panel discussion are open to the public free of charge. Both events will be held in Evelyn and Earle Wolf Hall.

Marketed for their exotic beautify, the Indonesian islands Bali and Java contain stories buried for decades. Through research, photography, and moving images, artists Leyla Stevens (Bali/Australia) and Rangga Purbaya (Java) bring these to the surface, providing sound for grieving and identities for the forgotten.

Stevens is an Australian-Balinese artist whose work has made a significant contribution to expanded documentary genres in Australian video art, as well as exploring the reparative potential of artmaking framed within political and social justice issues. In 2021, she was awarded the prestigious 66th Blake Art Prize for her film, Kidung, which engages with Bali’s silenced histories of political violence. Her immersive multi-channel video installations have been exhibited widely through major national and international group exhibitions, including presentations at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Guangdong Times Museum, and Seoul Museum of Art.

Purbaya is a visual artist interested in history and the discourse of the 1965 political genocide in Indonesia. His work integrates different mediums, such as photography, text, mixed media, video installation, and performance. He graduated from the Photography Department, The Art Institute of Indonesia, Yogyakarta. In 2002, he cofounded Ruang MES 56, an artist collective focusing on the development of photography and contemporary art, crossing over with other disciplines in critical and contextual approaches. And in 2015, he joined 1965 Setiap Hari, a transnational research and relay collective working with social media in Indonesia, as a cofounding member. His artistic practice addresses the lasting impact of the 1965-66 mass killings in Indonesia by adopting an investigative artistic method of excavating personal histories, remapping memories, and identity in his approach to reconnecting the distances caused by the tragedy.