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Benny Rachmadi (born 1969, in Samarinda) studied at the Graphic Design Department of Jakarta Institute of Arts (1988 – 1993). Currently he works as the contributor of comic strip “Kartun Benny & Mice” at the Kompas daily and also as the art director of Jakartoon T-shirt. Between 1999 and 2002, he was the contributor of “Djakarta as Usual” cartoon at Djakarta! magazine. In 1997, Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia published his cartoons in a series of books under the title of Lagak Jakarta. The series ran to 1999. He has also worked as a lecturer in his alma mater between 1993 and 2003.
The works are portraits of the daily lives in Jakarta in the form of cartoon reports; a recording of daily happenings resulting from the habits and attitudes of the people of Jakarta. The people are migrants coming to the city with their dreams, but one thing or the other leads them to mere survival, with a hope that tomorrow—perhaps, just perhaps—someone will come with Rp10 millions, for free, just like in the TV reality shows. Some people seek some fortune with much difficulty under the glaring sun, without once feeling “jealous” of another who stays comfortably in an air-conditioned room with an income of tens of millions of rupiah per month.
Many people have soaring dreams, taking “shortcuts” by joining auditions for all kinds of contests held in various TV stations today. From singing competition to a contest to become maids, a fight for a bequest and a fight for luxurious house of more than a billion… all these can make people stand in line under the sun, waiting for their turn for audition. It doesn't matter that they have to skip school for that. Funny, that.
Many migrants hold on to their professions—probably not because they are loyal to their professions, but because that's the only thing they can do. They know their abilities and do not force themselves to join Indonesian Idol because they know they sing off-key and their look is rather “not commercial.”
I try to “photograph” several profiles of the people of Jakarta. The people are familiar to us, as they are all around us here in Jakarta, from Tanjung Priok to Lebak Bulus. (Artist's Statement)
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