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Sumba Photo Stories, some news from the East Exhibition

This article links to these categories: Education | Project Update

Author of this post

Kawan: Alex Wettstein

Date of Publication

The January 14, 2021

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Extract | The Virtual exhibition is online until the 20.03.2021. What is the most urgent, the biggest problem? You just have to ask them. Thanks to this photo project, the children describe to us through their images, the difficulties of their daily lives. Another approach to defining needs, describe the socio-culture conditions. A project made by children for their environment! We just have to watch and listen.

This exhibit is a glimpse of life in the east, of life in rural areas of Sumba Timur. A representation of families’ daily lives in remote regions, captured through young students’ eyes, aged 9 to 12.

They open their houses to us, share their regular meals with us, invite us to follow them on the way to school, see their island and hills from morning until night. They capture those moments that punctuate their lives and explain them to us. Creating a story from these images is also an essential part of this exhibition and the curation process. Not only do they open their doors, but they also want to explain and tell us stories to guide the visual, in their own words. It’s now up to us to listen.

From the remote region of Kahaungu Eti sub-district, in the eastern part of East Sumba district, Nusa Tanggara Timur, their villages are named Kamanggih and Matawai Katingga. Forty-eight children are the authors and artists of this exhibition called “Kabar Dari Timur” which translates to “News from the East”. Through these photographs, audiences in Indonesia and worldwide can imagine and immerse themselves in a child’s daily life in these regions.

Due to Covid-19 pandemic, cancellation of socio-cultural events and halt of learning and teaching activities in Indonesia, the exhibition had to be adjusted. Hence, it was adapted online, making accessible to a larger audience through smartphones, tablets or computers.

It is hoped that this medium will make it possible to re-transpose the message of this series of photographs and stories as near as possible to reality.

Sumba Photo Stories is a program initiated by Kawan Baik Indonesia and Fair Future Foundations. Collect factual information from the actors’ subjective perspective, in this case, the 48 students, using the medium of photography and creating stories from it.

In their environment and through this social, cultural and educational program, the actors offer real perspectives of their life’s quality, based on their authentic insight. The “Kabar dari Timur” exhibition has children as protagonists. Still, this program adapts to diverse target populations: Women as its leads, a particular field of work or any other community or theme.

These programs’ main objectives are learning new skills, such as photography and storytelling, writing improvement for both children and adults, and boost confidence whether to speak or to present the work done to an audience.

The resulting work, the photographies, are work of art in their own. They are also a factual basis analysed for research work in the socio-cultural, educational or health fields.

This exhibition will be held until March 2020, via the website

The Virtual Exhibition

Sumba Photo Stories in 4 minutes

Sumba Photo Stores? By the kids for their life environment

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