2019, Installation; 3 printed versions of 1-cent, ½, 5 and 10 Gulden, 5-Roepiah Dutch East Indies Japanese Invasion Money (JIM) banknotes [36,000 print edition], a 19” flat screen monitor, a media player, 2 sets of spotlights with stands.

Work description

The work is an echo of what the artist found during one-month research in Pontianak, West Kalimantan. It draws attention to a lesser-known historical series of roundups and executions from late 1943 to early 1944, events that are collectively known as the Mandor Affair.

The massacre event was at a gold mine in Mandor, 50 miles north of the city of Pontianak. The event nearly wiped out the cream of Pontianak’s elites and middle class in a total of 21,037 people in less than a year. The victims included all of the Malay sultans (Sultan to Pontianak, Sambas, Ketapang, Soekadana, Simbang, Koeboe, Ngabang, Sanggau, Sekadau, Tajan, Singtan, and Mempawa), some twenty-five member of the high aristocracy, intellectuals, party leaders, and merchants from multiple ethnic groups – including ethnic Chinese who constituted the largest number of victims. During the time almost nobody knows what happened with the people who were kidnaped by the Japanese naval officers until the Japanese occupation newspaper, the Borneo Shimbun announced the news in Malay text in July 1944.

Experience a sense of obscure, sorrow and distort to the disappearance of the evidence while the artist pursued the research, the work is absorbed in this character. The installation made of an unlimited number of JIM or Japanese Invasion Money banknotes that used in Dutch East Indies (nowadays Indonesia) in 1942-1945 and video work. The banknotes allow us to study the once valued banknotes that combined Japanese design with local characters, hence clearly stated, for example, “De Japansche Regeering Betaalt Aan Toonder” (The Japanese Government Promise To Pay The Bearer On Demand) in cents and Guldens, then “Dai Nippon Teikoku Seiku” (Imperial Japanese Government) in the Roepiah banknotes. The 20% of the entire number of the notes hint the evidence of the event that needs an effort to piece together or find some keyword for further self-exploration.

Under the hill of banknotes lies a video monitor that appears a sign of the mass graves site at Makam Juang Mandor. The video was shot a week after the annually mourning day that happened on the 28th of June 2019. Actually, what visitors can see the massacre is only soil that believes it has covered the remains of victims. While each mass grave is indicated by open-sided wooden shelters.

The clearing where the killing took place was fenced and left as a memorial. There was an inscription on the boulder wrote in the Indonesian language, ”The Massacre Place.” It changed the title in 1975 to ”Place of Mass Burial”. However, the inscription is completely concealed nowadays.