By the River of Love

Project by Budi N.D. Dharmawan, Indonesian photographer, as part of Riverscapes IN FLUX organized by Goethe-Institut Hanoi, 2011–2012.


By the River of Love is a project by Budi N.D. Dharmawan, Indonesian photographer, as part of Riverscapes IN FLUX, a regional art project initiated by the Goethe-Institut Hanoi, 2011–2012.

For this project, Budi travels by land along the Solo river (Bengawan Solo), the longest river in Java, Indonesia to document the condition of the river and people living around the river basin area. Stretching as far as 600 km, Bengawan Solo streams from Solo in Central Java to Gresik in East Java, through Ngawi, Cepu, Bojonegoro, and Lamongan.

The people living near to and around the river have suffered annual flood for many years, due to overflow. The flood usually happens during the rainy season when the water level rises significantly. This project is a visual investigation on how the annual flood affects the people.

Riverscapes IN FLUX tries to look at Southeast Asia’s big riverscpaes which resemble life lines and roads that have developed into economic zones and vital ecosystems. But there is extreme fluctuation between flooding and water scarcities, as a result of climate change, which destroys the habitat along the riverscapes and threatens the existence of millions of people.

As climate change and resulting disasters ruin the social and political stability of the concerned countries, the threat of the riverscapes has become an important issue for the development. The project seeks a discourse on this ecological key issue in a new context. It is also a call for a cultural debate.

The aim of this project is to create an art form drawing further attention to the ecological, socio-political and cultural consequences resulted by climate change. The project brings together artists from Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines. The project will be exhibited in Hanoi, Vietnam in April 2012 and from there the exhibition will travel around Southeast Asia.

Budi Dharmawan (b. 1986) is a Yogyakarta-based Indonesian photographer who is interested in social and cultural issues. He studied Communications at Faculty of Social and Political Sciences in Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta. As a photographer, Budi works both on personal projects and assignments for a number of magazines.