Facilitation of Cultural Exchanges & Matchmaking
24 Aug 2023

EU-Indonesia Photography Residency: promoting peer-to-peer dialogue through cultural exchanges

Photography holds a significant role in capturing a nation’s diverse cultural heritage. It serves as a resourceful medium for preserving and rethinking traditions as well as observing societal changes and fostering a sense of identity.  Moreover, the advent of social media platforms has amplified the impact of photography, enabling people to display their nation’s allure to a global audience. It is a visual narrative that transcends any language barriers and connects people to their roots – and beyond.

Building on connectivity for culture exchanges, the Cultural Relations Platform – in collaboration with the Delegation of the European Union to Indonesia – invited two European professional photographersGaia Squarci (Italy) and Tadas Kazakevičius (Lithuania), to Indonesia for a 15-day residency programme on the island of Java.

The photographers arrived in Jakarta in early September, engaged with the local Indonesian photography community and took part in a colloquium in Surabaya through an invitation from the Institut Français Indonesia (Surabaya) and the Wisma-Jerman Foundation Surabaya during 14-15 September. 

The residency programme consisted of thematic workshops and public lectures within the official programming of the Jakarta International Photography Festival (JIPFest), in which both photographers took part between 16-19 September. The festival is a platform for professionals and general public to meet, as well as a space for impactful photography projects to reach out to wider audiences.

By connecting photography professionals from Europe and Indonesia across various events, workshops and encounters, the photography residency activity sparked peer-to-peer cultural dialogue for a diverse audience from students to professionals to photography enthusiasts. The Cultural Relations Platform remains committed to facilitating the exchange of knowledge and expertise between professionals in the field.

Our expert and the photographers for this project

Eka Nickmatulhuda (Expert)

Eka has been using the camera as her tool to document human events and tell their stories for almost 2 decades. She’s been a professional photographer right after college, primarily working as a photojournalist in Indonesia. Eka works on personal projects, evergreen stories about climate change dynamics, health issues, family connection, women stories from an insider, and how injustice and inequalities affect the lives of human beings. Besides working as a visual storyteller, she regularly mentors for photo workshops, works on exhibitions in Nurum Gallery Jakarta as curator and exhibition manager, and manages Women Photograph Indonesia community.  

Gaia Squarci (Photographer)

Gaia is a photographer and videographer who divides her time between Milan and New York, where she teaches Digital Storytelling at ICP.  Her work is focused on themes linked to the environment, disability, aging and family relationships. 

Gaia is a National Geographic Society grantee, and her project Ashes and Autumn Flowers was nominated for the Prix Pictet. POYi awarded her cinematography and photography work respectively in 2014 and 2017. She was among the 30 under 30 Women Photographers selected by Photo Boite for 2018. Her installation Broken Screen was part of reGeneration3 at Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne in 2015. Clients include the New York Times, the New Yorker, Time Magazine, Vogue, the Washington Post, The Guardian, The Economist, Internazionale, Il Corriere della Sera, D di Repubblica, Marie Claire Italia.

Tadas Kazakevičius (Photographer)

Tadas is Lithuanian born documentary and editorial photographer residing in Vilnius, Lithuania. As an author he is mainly focused in its humanistic direction – individuals and their stories as the principal subject of his photography.

His work was recognised in numerous awards like World Press Photo, Leica Oskar Barnack, LensCulture Exposure awards and featured in the British Journal of Photography. Tadas was exhibited in Jimei x Arles (China), Xposure (UAE), Les Photaumnales (FR), Nuit de la Photo (CH) photography festivals. His work was exhibited in countries including Germany, France, China, United States, United Kingdom, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan and featured in numerous international online platforms.