Boedi Widjaja: Declaration of

by Boedi Widjaja

cover of Boedi Widjaja: Declaration of

“Boedi Widjaja’s practice shifts effortlessly between photography and drawing. Complicating the process of image making, Widjaja asserts an additional layer of mediation, obscuring his own painstakingly made drawings with analogue photography processes, appropriating his own appropriated images to produce abstract, distorted images that differ widely in context. The work is often austere, portraying specters of historical figures; at other times, his subjects are abstract or corporeal manifestations of personal and cultural memories. His first US solo exhibition, Declaration of, is an examination of identity, politics, and nationhood, which is refracted through his own immigrant experience. Born in 1975 to ethnically Chinese parents in Java, Indonesia, Widjaja grew up at the height of widespread anti-Chinese sentiments of President Suharto’s repressive New Order, which included the purging of “‘Communists’, ‘Communist sympathizers’, Sukarnoists and other subversives.” Soon after consolidating power, the Suharto regime began imposing anti-Chinese legislation, which included the banning Chinese-language material and the prohibition of the display of Chinese cultural and religious expressions. These policies created conditions that later coalesced into the race riots of 1998, which ended in the tragic massacre of approximately 2000 Chinese Indonesians. Because of these circumstances, Widjaja spent his formative years away from home and his parents, placed under guardianship arrangements in Singapore since the age of nine. As a consequences of his upbringing, his artistic practice emanates our of a need to reconcile his own experiences of displacement, estrangement, and a search for belonging.” – By Shona Mei Findlay