Wimo Ambala Bayang

Sleeping Elephant In the Axis of Yogyakarta

Digital C Print Fuji Professional
165 x 110 cm

This work explores the artist’s observation of how Javanese mythology and cosmology have marked the geography of Yogyakarta, the cultural centre of Indonesia. Through photomontage digital operation, an identical elephant is superimposed in front of iconic landmarks of the city: Parangtritis Beach, Sultan Square, the City Monument and Mount Merapi.These four locations are spiritual symbols and the subject of cosmological beliefs in Indonesia and the imagery of elephant has long been considered as a cultural and religious icon.
Closer observation reveals something uncanny about the images. On the one hand, the elephant is proportionally unbalanced in the composition and out of place; on the other, it is tilted, suspended and tied around a whimsical structure comprised of bamboo posts, wheels, and wood slabs. The paradox created by the juxtaposition of the immobile and sacrificed elephant and the symbolic sites has a surreal and absurd effect, revealing the complexity and constraints of social and cultural conventions.