Otty Widasari

b. 1973. Lives and works in Jakarta. Otty Widasari has been a documentary filmmaker since 2001. She majored in journalism and visual arts. Besides documentary filmmaking, she produces video arts, painting, writing and media research. She published a book AKUMASSA: Community Based Mass-Media Watching (2013). Her feature documentary The Dragon Who Walks on the Water (2012) was screened at DMZ Docs in Paju, South Korea.

Jabal Hadroh, Jabal Al Jannah (Green Mountain, Heaven Mountain), 2013
HD video, 10 min.
오티 위다사리
Courtesy the artist and Forum Lenteng
Jabal Hadroh, Jabal Al Jannah (Green Mountain, Heaven Mountain) is a visual poem about (Muslim) women who in several places?geopolitically?cannot, may not, or do not want to walk alone. There must be men to accompany women either as guardians or her companions. But as a human, sometimes women also want and must and able to walk alone, if only to cleanse herself or feel the heavenly pleasure that exists in the world.
A quote from a piece of ancient rubaiyaat from Persia I got from the dialogues in an Iranian film by Abbas Kiarostami, The Wind Will Carry Us (1999), greatly influenced me while making this video work. It highlights the gender phenomena happening in some countries where the majority of the citizens are Muslim, even more so in countries that apply Islamic law as their basic constitution.
“They tell me she is as beautiful as a Houri from heaven! Yet I say, That the juice of the vine is better, Prefer the present to these fine promises. Even a drum sounds melodious from afar (…) Prefer the present (…)”
In Indonesia, democracy has been under way since the country’s independence proclaimed by President Soekarno on August 17th, 1945. But the Islamic way of life is deeply rooted in the tradition, introduced in the pre-colonial era (far before the European ruling of Indonesia) around the 13th century by merchants from Gujarati-India.
Thus, though democracy runs in the life as a nation, the people of Indonesia who are mostly Muslim have their own Islamic way to endure their life, which it cannot be denied is patriarchal in nature. Furthermore, a visual poem using the medium of video is a “contemporary” way for a woman to speak straightforwardly in the field of art. [Otty Widasari]