I visited my local art gallery yesterday. The exhibition: Dadang Christiano 1965 is a record of the suffering of the people of Indonesia at the coming of the Suharto regime. I learned that an estimated 1 500 000 people were murdered and many more imprisoned, beaten, raped. I also learned the reason for my ignorance: because the victims were identified as leftist sympathisers and communists (and I’m guessing because they were Asian) the West not only did nothing, they actively discouraged reporting and discussion.
Christano’s art is surely an act of faith: that despite this sorry history of denial, all people now will look and understand, will feel compassion. And so I sat for a moment in testimony, if you like. I sat and imagined ten people and then ten groups of ten people and ten times that until I worked up to 1 500 000. It was very crowded in the gallery, yet solemn, peaceful.
I can’t find an image to post that would not impinge on Christano’s copyright, but here is a link to more of his work.