reflections

2020-01-02  /  Reflection– on self– When Kanta Box Kamra (2014) & KANTA portraits (2017) project started out searching for concepts of identity, little was known of the outcome or the expectations of what will be found. Many of the processes and methodology were developed organically from the experiences and circumstances. The journey has been very revealing and challenging; physically, mentally and spiritually. Being in both local and foreign countries, understanding the social construct of how states project and form social strata, leading to which are the circumstances we are found in and responding to.

Indigenous groups and tribespeople have always been living in-between or at the crossroads between their existence and the ‘known world’. Identity therefore becomes the need to define, to be ‘known’, and to a certain extent, to conform, assimilate, integrate or be restricted and contained. Building archetypes as references to a structure of the human condition, the known world we live in has disabled and enabled the way we define and identify ourselves, either from our inherent past, genealogy, geospatial, polities. Understanding their predicament, is in a way to see our past and foresee a future.

Experiencing these conditions and circumstances from the studies and field trips, I have developed my thinking and understanding on the subject of identity. At this moment, I am still researching and reflecting. With time, I hope to either produce artworks or a publication on the experiences. (Taken from Cendana final Milestone report May 2019. edited).



2019-12-04  /  FILM release– Identity– One of a few interviews I gave this year where I started expressing my thoughts and reflection after a lengthy research project that has come to an end. Glimpse into my field work with KANTA portraits. https://web.facebook.com/watch/?v=746576142521616



2019-09-04  /  Interview– Malaysia Kini–  “其实,我们不是生而平等,也不是生而自由。我们出生在既定的现况之中。这样的框架比我们更 早就存在了。如果我们继续去定义它,我们就继续生活在矛盾之中。” / “In fact, we are not born equal, nor are we born free. We were born in the established state. Such a framework existed before us. If we continue to define it, we will continue to live in contradiction.”



2019-04-29  /  The State and Tribespeople– Cunex Village of the Temiar tribe, robbed and lives destroyed (Upper Perak). They are protecting what is last of their ancestral land and the most sacred site to what would be the story to the beginning of us in this world. Here is the log pile and ‘kongsi’ (loggers quarters), waiting for extraction from their ancestral land. Irreversible, life destroyed and cultural genocide continues. Sacred sites, graves, their food source, their medicine, their spirituality, their life as it disappears. Today loggers forced their way through the blockade set up by the indigenous village as their last stand. The logging continues, no where else left to run, or hide, they stand to fight but alone, as the silence of this continues to feed the development that we on the outside world remain ignorant to. Failing to see our silence is the undoing of our connection to earth.



2019-04-10  /  Kanta Malaysia Taiwan Exchange KMTX– Peninsular Malaysia– Kanta Portraits is exploring the concepts of identity, travelling to different indigenous communities in the country, researching and documenting tribes, stateless,‘non-status’ people, living on the edge of Malaysia and the region. Using portraiture photography as a method to study how these communities negotiate and navigate their identities within their social circumstances, beyond the nationally-constructed identity. ‘Beyond Borders– a search for self’ is the title for this phase of the project and has concluded it last leg of study in May 2019.



2019-03-03  /  Interview with NML Residency & Nusantara Archive– My latest thoughts and exploration on the project– Interview with 數位荒原駐站暨群島資料庫 NML Residency & Nusantara Archive. “From Archive to Tribes in Taiwan and Malaysia – Jeffrey Lim’s KANTA Portraits


2018-12-05  /  Hanging portrait– Pos Piah– I’ve often wondered where the prints go after I've handed them over. Some send me pictures of theirs framed up, but to visit a home where the portrait is hung in their living room, is indeed an honour and a feeling of fulfilment for the project, and maybe my subconscious personal intentions of finding family. A heirloom portrait print. This has made my efforts so worthwhile.



2018-12-04  /  IN THE FIELD– Pos Piah– Heading up to Upper Perak. Pack light #1interchange, with new print technique.

“The country will never grant you sovereign over your ancestral territories. We will continue to log the land.” First few messages we heard between the fight for survival of the Temer/temiar people on the Peninsular with the current government. Assimilate or extinction. Hard survival for generations before and after. Tonight is a special night as they celebrate the last day of the advocacy program as the workshop draws to a close Sewang ceremony. The future has always been uncertain for indigenous groups, culturally dependant on their traditional land for sustenance and cultural identity. It alike cultural genocide, but documented and “anthropologised”, for development.



2018-09-01 / Exhibition: Kanta portraits 台灣 | 渡河, 邊境旅行, OCAC, Taipei– Caption– Beach stone face, Hualien city– River bank at the Hualien river estuary is lined with waste stones and marbles, offcuts from the industrialisation of quarries upriver, much like a man-made pebble beach. Most of the river water has been diverted for agriculture and industrial uses, and the once mighty river is not like it used to be for the native communities.

Installation in 33 drawers with over 40 Silverprint Portraits from four different native communities in Taiwan, from the southernmost island of Lanyu, to a native village in the city of Taipei. Found objects and crafts included.




2017-11-23  /  Dinding Potret Kanta– KantaPortrait wall 2014-2017, the first piece I’ve made of the project. I have been working on this concept for a couple of years now, collecting cans. This panel consists of 67 cans, portraits of 85 people, taken from 2014 to 2017 in Malaysia, from the Northern Belum forest, to East Malaysia of people from all around Borneo. There is a deeper discourse, but I’ll leave it as it is, visually.