Cornell University

Identity Crisis: Reflections on Public and Private Life in Contemporary Javanese Photography

Sunday, June 11, 2017 at 9:00am to 5:00pm

Johnson Museum of Art
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, 114 Central Ave, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

Organized by the Johnson Museum, this exhibition is the first in the United States to focus on the recent emergence of photography as an art form in Java, Indonesia. Guest curated by photographer Brian Arnold, Identity Crisis is the culmination of years of research and consultation with artists, curators, publishers, and educators in Java. The ten artists included pursue investigations of personal or cultural identity, and use photography to probe, obscure, or heighten questions and curiosities about being Javanese or Indonesian today.

Whether looking at their personal histories, cultural or institutional histories, or documenting broader social diversity, each artist attempts to bring greater clarity to fundamental issues.

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition, copublished by the Johnson Museum and Afterhours Books, Jakarta (available February 2017).


This exhibition was curated by Brian Arnold, a research associate in Cornell’s Southeast Asia Program, with Ellen Avril, chief curator and curator of Asian art at the Johnson Museum. The project was made possible by support from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, the Jarett F. and Younghee Kim Wait Fund for Contemporary Islamic and Middle Eastern Arts at the Johnson Museum, the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County, and the American Institute for Indonesian Studies.