by Erik Meijaard for The Jakarta Post
This may be the most intriguing orangutan picture ever. I have seen thousands of orangutan pictures over the years, and I have become a little blasé about them. But something struck me about this photo. The beautiful orangutan baby looks up with shining eyes, face thoughtful but pensive; might there be a faint trace of a smile.
It reminds me of Mona Lisa’s enigmatic expression, although, admittedly, unlike the little orangutan, Mona Lisa did not have a dead leaf stuck in her hair. Could there be a better way to visualize the struggle Indonesia’s orangutans face, the inherent sadness, but also the hope that it will all work out in the end?
This is “I am the Forest”, a photo exhibition set up in the middle of a forest area in Rungan Sari, near Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan. I was there to participate in the opening of the Global Issues Network environmental youth conference attended by 300 students and workshop facilitators from Kalimantan, Jakarta, Bali, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Australia.
This excerpt from an article appeared in and is courtesy of the The Jakarta Post and can be read in its entirety here.