Artist Lala Bohang Explores 'Forbidden Feelings' in Book and Museum Projects


SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Jakarta. Genuine and unapologetic thoughts reverberate in the exhibit room at Qubicle Center in Senopati, South Jakarta, when visual artist Lala Bohang unveiled her latest exhibition, "The Museum of Forbidden Feelings" on Wednesday (28/08).

"The Museum of Forbidden Feelings" is a collection of the mundane things in life, human stories, memories and emotions. These are things that represent an opposite to society's obsession with perfection, achievement and success over superficial matters. It is also an extension to her latest book "The Book of Forbidden Feelings," which is launched on the same evening, but has been sold at Gramedia bookstores since July and went to reprint after two weeks of release.

The exhibition takes place in a modest corner at the Qubicle, where 67 items of various types are strewn around the homey and cozy setup. Every single object in the exhibition belongs to fellow illustrators, poets, creative workers and activists; people who have crossed paths with Lala in art projects or lifelong friendships. Each object has been chosen carefully by their respectful owners because it signifies an emotion that is not easy to express.

Lala said she wanted to invite people to appreciate the little things in life.

"Forbidden feelings can appear in a form of dirty little secrets, mundane activities, the importance of lazing around, finding happiness in junk food, or things that one does when you're alone," she said. "These are the kind of things that we don't want to show to people, but enjoy feeling or doing,"

Illustrator Mayumi Haryoto contributed her dark red stone and a letter from her late mother to the exhibition. Mayumi discovered the stone after her mother passed away, but the letter was written 10 years prior to her death. As explained in the letter, the mother took the stone from a temple in her home country, Japan, and promised to return it when she got her wish fulfilled.

"I don't know if her wish came true, but this stone sort of became a thing that symbolizes my connection with her," she said.

Poet M. Aan Mansyur exhibits a pile of letters from a stranger who wrote to him faithfully without ever including a return address.

"She wrote so often, but then there came a time when she just slowed down. Oddly, it made me miss her," Aan said.

Lala said she finds working on both the book and museum projects have led her to interesting experiences with her friends.

"What was a casual exchange prior to this project now turned into a more intimate conversation. There's an added closeness in the relationships I have with my friends because we end up talking about things that we normally don't in daily life," she said.

Lala will conduct a workshop, "Make Your Own Book With What You Have & What You Can Do," on Oct. 9. where registered participants will be taught to make a blueprint of their own book.

The exhibition runs until Oct. 10.