LIVE AND LET LIVE : 10 YEARS OF EXISTENCE OF RUMAH CEMARA
Rumah Cemara Office , Geger Kalong 52
Bandung, West Java, Indonesia , 2013
Rumah Cemara is a non-governmental organization based in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals living with HIV/AIDS and those who use drugs in the country. Their programs aim to provide support and assistance to these communities. If you would like to learn more about Rumah Cemara, you can find detailed information by clicking here.
My initial encounter with Rumah Cemara occurred approximately six months ago when my friend Panca DZ introduced me to one of their leaders, Ginan Koesmayadi, at Bawet, a street soccer field managed by Rumah Cemara under the Pasupati Flyover. During this meeting, I discussed a photography project that involved documenting the lives of individuals living with HIV/AIDS at Rumah Cemara. At the time, I had limited knowledge about HIV/AIDS, so I decided to familiarize myself with the community to ensure their comfort and acceptance when I began documenting their daily lives. Following the meeting, we visited Jimi, a staff member at the Rumah Cemara Rehabilitation Center near the soccer field. Jimi's role involved providing counseling and support to individuals with drug dependency at the facility.
Subsequently, my friend Panca DZ and I frequented the Rumah Cemara office located at Gegerkalong Girang 52. We began meeting many new friends there, and I was impressed by their warm acceptance as they welcomed us as if we had known each other for a long time.
In 2013, as Rumah Cemara celebrated their 10-year anniversary, they requested our assistance in creating a monumental artwork for their office, symbolizing their decade of existence. We decided that Panca would create a charcoal drawing on canvas, while I would assemble a photo collage spanning from 2003 to 2013. The sorting process involved going through more than 2,000 photos to represent each year. I dedicated my spare time to meticulously organizing these photos, realizing the significant role photography played in capturing moments and emotions throughout Rumah Cemara's history. Despite technical imperfections such as composition, lighting, or focus, I discovered that as long as a photo effectively conveyed the intended information, it held its own beauty and value.
The composition of the frames in the photo collage was carefully chosen to showcase the growth of Rumah Cemara over the years, reflecting my belief that the organization will continue to expand in the future. What struck me about the selected photos was the visible struggle of the staff members during the early years to keep Rumah Cemara operational. I observed their participation in seminars and workshops, witnessing their ability to achieve great things despite the existing stigma surrounding HIV in Indonesia. The lack of information regarding HIV in the country contributes to this stigma. Viewing the photos individually provides a tangible sense of how Rumah Cemara has developed over time. Upon completing this artwork, I realized that within the span of just ten years, Rumah Cemara experienced numerous events, not only in terms of their programs but also the loss of friends. However, what stands out is their resilience and determination to keep moving forward.
I consider it an honor that Rumah Cemara entrusted me to display my artwork in their office and granted me access to their history through their photos. I hope that my creations can inspire all who visit their office, encouraging them to recognize that HIV/AIDS is not a death sentence. I want to emphasize that individuals living with HIV have the same opportunities, rights, and access to treatment as anyone else in this country or anywhere else in the world.