Photo exhibition marking 25 years of reformasi: State must take responsibility

Source – May 13, 2023
Photo exhibition marking 25 years of reformasi at the Graha Pena 98 – May 12, 2023 (Kompas)

Xena Olivia, Jakarta – The National Association of 1998 Activists (Pena 98) is holding a photo and memorabilia exhibition to commemorate 25 years of reformasi – the political reform movement that began in 1998.

The exhibition is being held at the Graha Pena 98 building on Jalan Hos Tjokroaminoto No 115 in the Menteng suburb of Central Jakarta.

Pena 98 public relations officer Sopyan said that the photographs were intentionally presented so that the public can understand the struggle by the ordinary people to bring down the New Order regime of former president Suharto and achieve reformasi in 1998.

"The generational gap is very wide, right. Friends who are now of university student age, before were in kindergarten, still in primary school. They don't know about the incidents that took place [that we are presenting through] the photographic lens", Sopyan told on Friday May 12.

"We are presenting what was able to be documented by Forkot (City Forum) photographer Firman", he continued.

As many as 300 shots taken by Firman are displayed neatly in frames starting at the Graha Pena 98 parking area and leading into the building.

Sopyan hopes that the exhibition can be a message to the state to immediately take responsibility for ensuring justice for the victims who died during the struggle for reformasi.

"It's important for us to remind the country. No matter how powerful the perpetrators are, no matter how important the perpetrators are now, the (state) must have the courage [to act], you know", said Sopyan.

"To this day, 98 activist friends have never been silent. We remind the regimes of anyone to not be willing to be defeated by perpetrators of human rights violators", he continued.

The 25 years of reformasi photo exhibition is open to the public from Thursday May 11 to Wednesday May 17 between 10 am and 10 pm and entry is free of charge.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Gelar Pameran Foto 25 Tahun Reformasi, Pena 98: Negara Harus Punya Tanggung Jawab Sejarah".]