Wimo Ambala Bayang

We Are Everybodyelse

We Are Everybodyelse, 2008
50 x 50 cm

And that kind of notion is what is shown in Wimo Ambala’s project which was actually a ‘commission’ work for a pre-wedding bride and groom photo series for his friends. The series depicts a portrait series of different couples, man and woman, all wearing the same pair of masks that are modeled from the faces of would-be bride and groom in concern, whose faces in a way seems to also represent the faces of everyday Indonesian (Javanese) male and female young adults. The models wearing the masks are also real-life pairs of husband and wife, and all the pictures were taken in their homes in a mundane, daily life atmosphere.
In a glance they appear like any ordinary couple photos, reflecting their different upbringing, lifestyle, and also each their own personal sense of intimacy towards each other, reflected from their gestures, the background and details of their houses, and also their attitude. What makes the pictures disturbing is the presence of the masks that cover up their faces, giving a sense of displacement and taking away our own intimacy towards the subjects. The masks in Wimo Ambala Bayang’s series works as a symbol of uniformity and control that penetrates in the most private and smallest institutions like families or marital relations, the way couples from any background have to compromise to a certain system of security, in order to guard themselves and to fit in the societal order.

Michiel Morel, The Masks as an Intermediary
A publication on the ocassion of the exhibition Masked, Oktober 22 – November 29, 2008, at Heden, The Hague, The Netherlands.