2018 Award Finalist: Saujana Sumpu, by Yoppy Pieter

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2018 Documentary Award Finalist

Saujana Sumpu, by Yoppy Pieter

I felt an overwhelming silence as I set foot in a rumah gadang at the gate of the village, where the tragedy of its lost beauty was amplified by the absence of its owner.

Every step I made, however slow and silent, still disrupted the stillness witnessed by the nocturnal creatures of the house. What was left of the wooden walls and windowsills were lying on the floor, waiting to be devoured by the colonies of termites. I mumbled to myself, “Silence can indeed be destructive even to the most magnificent.” I asked a woman passing by, “Where is the owner now?” She answers, “Oh,they’ve moved out, migrated.” Rural migration has reached a whole new level in the Minangkabau culture, abandoning its primordial roots in the process. Sumpu, through its Saujana – cultural landscape, has somehow managed to immortalize this phenomenon. As the green scenery stretches between Bukit Barisan and Lake Singkarak.

I would have never imagined that underneath the natural wonders of Sumpu, has long laid an open wound. Sumpu is easily perceived as a story of a forsaken village that has lost its way and now merely stands as a remnant of its glorious past. A heartbreaking story of a land that for hundreds of years has given birth to tough, hardworking migrants. It is the story of the slow death of a cultural heritage, destroying the identity of the Minangkabaus.

In the silence, I thought to myself, “Will Sumpu be able to send for the individuals it has raised? As the sorrow of being left behind is no smaller than the love it has given.”



Yoppy is a photographer who was born and raised in Jakarta. His father has helped nurture his interest in visual world since he was a kid and this was a reason behind his decision to use camera when he started his work in a publisher.

He learned photography in a workshop held by PannaFoto Institute, before selected as one of the participants of Permata PhotoJournalist Grant (2011), Angkor Photo Workshop (2012),the recipient of Erasmus Huis Fellowship to Amsterdam (2015) and South-East Asia & Oceania 6×6 Global Talent Program by World Press Photo Foundation (2017) .

In 2014, together with photographers Muhammad Fadli and Putu Sayoga, he established Arka project (www.arkaproject.com). Yoppy’s photography works were exhibited in Jakarta Photo Summit #3 (2014), 2015 Jakarta Biennale and published in a book titled Saujana Sumpu in 2016.

Website: www.yoppycture.com

Finalist Gallery with Captions

Saujana Sumpu, by Yoppy Pieter [Indonesia] is a Documentary Award Finalist in the Invisible Photographer Asia Awards 2018. View more 2018 Awards Finalists.

The Invisible Photographer Awards 2018 is proudly supported by G-Technology AP, Sony Singapore, GetIT Comms, Grenadier Press, Exactly Foundation, Photo Kathmandu, Spoon Creative and Objectifs – Centre for Photography and Film.

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