Viewing Record 4 of 14 Constructed and Staged Images
About the Photographer
Indonesian, b. 1982
Leonard Suryajaya is inspired by the complex history of his roots, particularly as they relate to queerness. He grew up as an Indonesian citizen of Buddhist faith and Chinese origin in a predominantly Muslim country. Working from this composite cultural context, he explores fundamental questions about notions of intimacy, self-representation, and a sense of dislocation—of feeling alien to one’s surroundings. His high-density, performative compositions include his family, friends, and partner staged in a colorful disarray of fabrics, flowers, and typical household objects. “For Daughters” (2016) is part of his series Bunda, which he describes as “a celebration of a complicated life.” Three women—presumably two daughters and their mother—are pictured amongst an artfully curated display of clashing fabrics. The daughters lounge languorously as the mother tenderly strokes one of their faces, capturing a moment of joy and ease which the artist characterizes as “without disregarding the mess of the past and present.” Suryajaya’s photographs and installations communicate a vision of daily life in which a multitude of cultural codes co-exist and betray tensions between personal identity and the expectations of family and society.
Suryajaya completed a BA in Theatre Arts and a BFA in Creative Photography from California State University, Fullerton in 2013. He then moved to Chicago to attend School of the Art Institute of Chicago and completed an MFA in Photography. In 2017, he was one of 65 emerging artists selected to attend Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture for its annual intensive program. Since then, his work has been integrated into various collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, The Block Museum, and Mana Contemporary. He has been the recipient of awards such as the Chicago DCASE Esteemed Artist Award and the Aaron Siskind Foundation Award.