Women in Film & Photography 2023 Exhibition

In 2005, Aceh was granted special autonomy as part of a deal with Jakarta to end decades of separatist violence, and Sharia Law was implemented as a result. Under Sharia Law, amongst other changes in community life, women are expected to adhere to a modest dress code that includes the wearing of a hijab.

Growing up in a post-conflict generation, I have heard and read about the political situation during those tumultuous times, where women often ended up oppressed by those who fought over the ideology of power. Some saw the covering of women’s bodies as an ideological symbol representing the collective identity of the Aceh community, while others saw it as an act of control, and a means to spread fear in society. Women’s bodies are hence constructed as symbols of nationality and moral parameters. This tension continues to exist even today, as patriarchal power extends its reach into the current generation. Just as women’s voices have been muted throughout this history, our identities are thus also subsumed into nameless and faceless statistics, to be used for political power.

Beudoh Dara (meaning Wakeup Woman in Acehnese) is a self-portrait series, with accompanying images of my mother and sister from our family albums between 2009 and 2015. Through this project, and the use of personal archives, I articulate my belief that the ‘self’ is inextricable from the wider collective and history. It captures my attempt to situate my life and understand my ‘self’, as a woman born after the conflict, amidst the broader collective experience that it is connected to.

About Nisa Rizkya Andika
Nisa R.A is a multidisciplinary artist who is interested in women’s issues and the intergenerational gap. She exhibits her work in various media such as visual art, photography and film. Nisa is currently pursuing her master’s degree in cultural studies at Sanata Dharma University, with a research focus on violence experienced by Acehnese women. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Film and Television at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts, Yogyakarta.

Nisa works in the Inisiatif Incubator art collective, a collective that focuses on the knowledge and development of contemporary art through presentation and discussion. She is also one of the founders of Mentang Production House Cinema. Nisa’s artwork has been exhibited at the Indonesian Visual Art Archive, French Institute of Yogyakarta, and Tembi Museum.

For the rest of our Women in Film and Photography 2023 programme, visit here.