Finnish Photographer Organizing Photographic Exhibition in Indonesia

Finnish amateur photographer Ari Saaski will organize a photographic exhibition, Pasola, on September 15, 2007 in which images on exhibition are the result of his five-day journey to the isolated southern island of Indonesia, Sumba, with fellow photographer Ilan Weinblatt. The exhibition will be held in Bali.
Saaski’s interest in Sumba began as a 15-year-old researching Sulawesi. He came across images of Sumba and the island culture and was hooked. For fellow traveler, Weinblatt, also a Bali resident, the photographic journey to Sumba was his way of reconnecting to the cultural heart of Indonesia.
“Traveling to Sumba was a longtime dream of mine. Ever since I found the island when I was reading about Sulawesi. That island was my first goal, then I found the book on Sumba and the ikat made there. It was not until I moved to Indonesia to study wood carving and furniture production that I heard about the Pasola,” said Saaski, adding that in another linguistic twist the earlier name of Pashola, Pa Hola, means Devil in Finnish.
Pasola, the name of the photographic exhibition, is an annual festival of horses and warriors in West Sumba, with roots going back to the times of the earliest kings of Sumba.
There are no winners or losers in the Pasola; it is a fight based on honor and follows the cultural laws set by the priests who wait for the annual arrival of rainbow worms to be washed up on West Sumba’s vast and empty stretches of white sand beaches. The worms are believed to be the hair of the Goddess of the South Sea, Nyai Roro Kidul and mark the beginning of the Pasola.
Both photographers say they hope their images remind people of how diverse and in tact much of Indonesia’s cultural life still is.
“I hope that more of the people who live here in Bali, the expatriates, will realize there is so much more to Indonesia than what we have in the cocoon that is Bali. Bali is a different planet to so much of Indonesia and we forget that,” Weinblatt said.
The Pasola photographic exhibition may be one way that positive modernity can be introduced with all proceeds from the show going to the Sumba Foundation.

Ari Saaski
Ilan Weinblatt

The Viceroy Bali
Opens Sept. 15.
For more information
contact Ari Saaski
on 081 855 4466.

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