What defines your culture, family, city, faith and creativity?
These were a few of the questions that students explored during the first-ever ASAC photography competition – an event that saw over 80 aspiring photographers from eight international schools in the ASEAN region shine their own unique lens on the theme ‘Who Are We?’.
Among them were 25 Primary, Middle and High School students from ACG School Jakarta, eight of whom took out prizes for their outstanding photographic submissions.
Maryam Suliman earned first place in the Grade 7 to 8 portraiture category with a picture of her kitten lying in the grass.
“It took me around two hours to get the right shot,” says Maryam, who one day hopes to become a professional photographer.
“I’d tried taking other photos of plants and humans, but none of them were to my liking. When I saw my cat playing in the garden, everything from the lighting to the background just seemed perfect.”
Meanwhile, in the Grade 9 to 12 portraiture category, ACG School Jakarta’s Cello Siahaan gained top honours with his unique perspective on dualism.
“Everybody is dualistic, and I illustrated this by using the edges of a mirror to depict myself at different angles. The image made it seem like I was severed in two and had two faces,” explains Cello.
His unusual take on the theme clearly caught the judges’ attention and, in doing so, provided a significant boost to Cello’s spirits.
“It really made my day when I found out the results. It’s not often I win something, so this award gave me more confidence in my creative abilities.”
The photographic competition is one of the many events and activities ASAC (ASEAN Sports and Activities Conference) has planned for students in 2022. Aimed at bringing together like-minded international schools from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia, ASAC events originally focused on sports. But since the arrival of Covid-19, their competition offerings have expanded and diversified. And ACG School Jakarta virtual arts teacher Olivia Owen is delighted.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for ACG students to showcase their photographic talents. Not only is it great for their confidence, but it also makes them feel proud of their culture, identity and school,” she explains.
And while Olivia expected ACG students to do well, they were even more successful than she had anticipated.
“Many students had entered the ACG School Jakarta photography competition last year, so I knew we had a lot of talent and were in with a good chance of winning some prizes.
But I didn’t think that nearly ten per cent of the contest winners would be entrants from ACG!”
With such a high standard of work, Olivia admits it’s hard to pick a favourite, but one particular photo does stand out to her.
“ACG student Pappin Soekidi Ford submitted a photo of oxen on the beach. It was such a great photo – it was organic, the sun was setting, and the backdrop of the scene on the beach in Lombok was breathtaking. To me, that photo really represented Indonesian culture in a unique way.
“I am so proud of all our winning photographers. They represented ACG School Jakarta in the best possible way, showcasing their culture and identities. I’m so glad they gained this recognition and had their photographs viewed by a huge audience here in Southeast Asia.”