Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Extraordinary Resilience and Quiet Heroism: The Photography of Jan Banning

Dulrahman, nicknamed Sidul by Jan Banning
Dulrahman, nicknamed Sidul
Born 5 March, 1920, in the village of Tahunan in the Gunung Kidul region near Yogyakarta, Java. He was a romusha in various locations, finally on the Burma Railway. He is a farmer with just over an acre of land on which he raises corn, cassava, rice and peanuts. He also has some coconut trees and teak for fences and firewood.

We know from the war in Irag that photography can capture the horrors of armed conflict. But photojournalist can also find and portray stories of resilience and survival. This is just what photojournalist Jan Banning does as he listens to and portrays Dutch and Indonesian prisoners-of-war forced into slave labour and denied even minimal rights by their Japanese captors during the brutal Pacific war of 1941-45. Check out Open Democracy for three of these moving portraits from Banning's prize-winning book Traces of War due out soon by Trolley, Ltd. There is also a gallery show currently on view in London at the Trolley Gallery. So, if you're in the UK check out the work of this quietly heroic photographer.

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