Terrifying Portraits of Indonesia’s Street-Performing Macaques – Design You Trust

Terrifying Portraits of Indonesia’s Street-Performing Macaques

“Terror often stems not from the unknown, but from something familiar that has been subtly – but unmistakably – transformed. This certainly helps explain why Finnish photographer Perttu Saksa’s series, “A Kind of You”, is so unsettling. Saksa, a portrait photographer by trade, was appalled when, traveling in Jakarta in 2012, he first caught sight of macaque monkeys that had been manacled and forced into roles as “actors” in street performances. In the fall of last year, with the help of an Indonesian journalist, Saksa began investigating people known as “monkey masters” – entrepreneurs who train and rent monkeys to beggars.

Saksa then photographed those monkeys, “in character”, that he found especially chilling; often clad in dolls’ masks and children’s clothes, his subjects convey an eerie, anthropomorphic spirit. Bound by chains and peering from behind masks that, at least ostensibly, evoke playfulness and innocence, the monkeys in Saksa’s portraits are emblems of a primal human fear: the terror of being enslaved, wholly controlled, at the mercy of forces greater than ourselves.

Along with the unease the images provoke, however, most viewers will likely feel another, perhaps deeper response. Namely, anger. How, we ask ourselves, is this sort of abuse allowed to happen, out in the open?

“It’s a matter of empathy”, Saksa once said in an interview with art critic Mika Hannula – an observation that suggests his photographs are more than mere portraits. They are an indictment of our own indifference to the suffering of others.

In early 2013, Jakarta tightened its oversight of the city’s “monkey masters”, making the ownership of monkeys a violation of a criminal code on animal abuse. And two weeks ago, Jakarta’s governor announced a cash incentive for handlers whose monkeys are seized and released from captivity.

Soon, Saksa’s images may serve as spooky vestiges of an archaic tradition. For now, they’re powerful – and eerily beautiful – reminders of a grim reality”. – Vaughn Wallace via The Time.












If you want more awesome content, subscribe to 'Oh, Design You Trust,' our brand new Facebook page! Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

More Inspiring Stories

Welded And Painted Black Steel Ravens By Ludvig Ödman
Winter 2017 / 2018 Tortoise Fashion
National Geographic Photo Contest 2012: A Sneak Peek at the Top Shots
The Flatmobile - World’s Lowest Street Legal Car
Brazilian Artist Creates Beds For Animals From The Old Tires That He Finds In The Streets
Beautiful Animal Portraits By Sergey Polyushko
Little Girl and Her Best Friend Elephant, ca. 1980s
Amazing Street Art By HoodGraff
The Bond of Two German Shorthaired Pointers
Selfies From The Past: Celebrating A Birmingham Community’s Selfies From 40 Years Ago
Adorable Baby Koala Poses for Her Very First Photoshoot
Meet Nangua, A Very Rare (And Very Adorable) Bright Orange Baby Monkey
Badass Cat Proves He’s The True Owner Of This Supermarket In London
Unexpected Coincidences On The Streets Of New York That This Russian Photographer Managed To Capture On Camera
Cat Fishing: Leopard Gets Covered In Mud Catching Its Fish Supper
Do Enjoy This Dog Dressed Up As Various Disney Characters
A Bear's First Photo Shoot: Adorable Cub Ayra Strikes Comical Poses As She Balances On Two Legs
Goats Take Over Empty Streets Of Seaside Town In Wales During The Coronavirus Outbrake
This Small Village In Indonesia Is Literally Made Out Of Rainbows
Hard-Working Sausage Dog Takes On A Part-Time Job As A Mechanic
"All is Inside": The Superb Surreal Portraits by Shahab Shahmohamadi
Powerful Portraits of People Revealing Their "Invisible" Illnesses
Zdzisław Beksiński: Terrifying Visions Of Hell By Murdered Polish Painter
Theme Park Covers Topless Mermaid Statues With Bronze Tops In Effort To Become 'Family Friendly'