Photo exhibition: "Facing Trance in Indonesia"

If the face is the mirror of a soul, then what should reflect one’s who is or is believed to be in trance or possessed by spirits? The exhibition to be held on 18-25 February at SEA Junction is an attempt by the photographer Eva Rapoport to find answers to this question.

She does this by documenting Kuda Lumping (“flat or leathered horse”), a traditional Javanese trance performed in traditional village ceremonies of transition for births, circumcision, marriage, house dedication and death. In the performance male dancers act out riding flat effigies of horses and fight each other, with some going into trance, possessed by the spirit of the horses. Their bodies become vessels for spirits so the latter can enjoy their presence in tangible world: eat, drink, dance to the music, but also allow their carriers to perform various feats like walking over hot coals, tearing big green coconuts apart with bare hands and teeth or eating glass.

Java has a entrenched tradition of mysticism, animism, and other forms of “supernatural” expressions that is still vibrant today notwithstanding fundamentalist and modernist efforts to make it disappear.

Selected photographs taken in Yogyakarta will be exposed for a week on 18-25 February at SEA Junction. Pictures from the same photographer on the vegetarian festival in Phuket, Thailand are available on our website at http://seajunction.org/gallery/glimpses-of-southeast-asia/phuket-vegetarian-festival/

At the launching of the week-long exhibition on 18 February 2017 dancer and art lecturer Kuswarsantjo will perform the kuda lumping dance and the photographer Eva Rapaport will share her thoughts and skills. Visual documentary will also be available.

Photographer

Eva Rapoport was born in the Soviet Union and has lived and worked in Russia. She has studied and  then taught philosophy and cultural studies. In 2013 she moved to Southeast Asia and lived in Indonesia for almost 3 years before moving to Thailand where she currently lives. She is doing a master in religion studies and she has a keen interest in spirit possession rituals.