Ravaged is the title of Malaysian artist Nadiah Bamadhaj’s latest exhibition.
The six works combine her collage and charcoal drawings with photographs by Indonesian photojournalist Dwi Oblo.
The portraits are of individuals who were interviewed by Bamadhaj at a shelter in Indonesia for trans and cisgender people called the Yogyakarta’s Transgender Extended Family, where she has worked as a volunteer since 2016.
Each portrait hovers above photographs capturing particular moments, some dramatic and others serene, in the everyday lives of her subjects.
According to the gallery’s press release, “Ravaged is an attempt to highlight [goings-on] within the LGBTIQ community in Indonesia, focusing on one group, Yogyakarta’s Transgender Extended Family. The people that Bamadhaj has met at the shelter live complicated lives full of emotional burden and shame as a result of existing on the margins of an increasingly conservative society.”
The artist uses a familiar element from her work, the Medusa, which has been a part of her practice since 2008.
The press release concludes, “In Greek mythology Medusa is turned to stone by Athena after being raped by Zeus; alluding (to) this tragic figure, Bamadhaj’s Medusas depict individuals who have experienced an injustice forced upon them by a higher power. The LGBTIQ community in Indonesia at the moment is experiencing just that. The Medusa element in this work is an expression of the anxiety of those portrayed in this series.”