Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
— George Santayana

JALAN KEMENANGAN
(VICTORY STREET)

Photography on Canvas. Stitched with Gold-Coloured Threads
60 x 120 cm
2012


Indonesian text:

Persoalan identitas adalah hal yang menarik dan cukup banyak seniman mengangkatnya menjadi subyek karya seni mereka. Namun, melihat identitas melalui hubungan yang kompleks antara ingatan (Memory) dan sejarah (History), tidaklah banyak dibicarakan seniman. Yaya Sung, seniman Legal Artis #4 Ruang MES 56 kali ini mengangkat perihal tersebut melalui ‘Jalan Kemenangan’. Dalam proyek ini, ia secara khusus melihat sebuah komunitas Tionghoa di Glodok sebagai pintu masuk untuk mengenali sejarah sosial politik bangsa ini, khususnya etnis Tionghoa di Indonesia. Kerusuhan Mei 1998 dijadikan titik awal untuk berbicara tentang bagaimana masyarakat Tionghoa memahami masa lalu mereka sendiri, melampaui tragedi dan menelusuri ingatan-ingatan yang sebagian terang sebagian kabur itu.

Untuk mempresentasikan pengalaman ini, ia membuat 5 buah karya potret dari warga yang tinggal di daerah tersebut. Subyek dalam potretnya adalah pihak-pihak yang menjadi korban kerusuhan tersebut. Dalam potret-potret itu, Yaya menghilangkan wajah, tangan dan kaki subyek dan menggantinya dengan jahitan benang-benang berwarna emas. Jahitan itu ia pakai untuk menggambarkan bagaimana identitas dibangun dari rangkaian antara ingatan, sejarah dan kenyataan hidup masa kini.

Program Legal Artist Series ini tidak melulu soal seniman muda berbakat atau karya yang bagus, namun lebih jauh menuntut bahwa artist dan karya yang dipamerkan harus memiliki kekuatan di inovasi, tradisi dan masa depan. Yang di pertimbangkan adalah bahwa praktek kesenian yang dijalankan memiliki akar yang kuat serta memiliki kemungkinan pengembangan, baik dari sisi wacana hingga teknik-artistiknya.
- Akiq AW (MES56)

English text:

Identity is always an interesting subject and quite a lot of artists explore this in their artwork. However, looking at identity through the complex relationship between memory and history is rarely explored. Yaya Sung, a young female artist of The Legal Artis # 4 raises this subject through her project ‘The Victory Road’ which presents a Chinese community in Glodok, Jakarta as an entry point to help her understand the social and political history of this nation, particularly the Indonesian Chinese. Yaya has begun with the May 1998 riot as the starting point to talk about how Chinese people understand their past, beyond the tragedy.

In this exhibition we are presented with five portraits of people living in the Victory Road area. The subjects of these portraits were those who are victims of the 1998 riot. Yaya walks through these memories with her subjects, some memories are vivid, some are fuzzy, all in an attempt to found out their history as victims of 1998 riot. In these images the artist has eliminated their face, hands and legs; and replaced them with gold colored thread. This act of stitching illustrates how identity is built by the complex processes of memory, history and the present reality.

The Legal Artist Series program is not only about the talented young artists or a great series of work, but further demands that the artist and the works developed for the exhibition should have the power of tradition, innovation and add to the future dialog of contemporary photography.  The artist should consider that the practice of contemporary art has to have strong roots of reason while also having the potential for development, from both a technical and artistic-discourse standpoint. 
- Akiq AW (MES56)