Indonesia: The End is the Beginning
In Indonesia, death is not the end of life but the beginning of the afterlife. Death marks a new phase of being in this world. The departed remained integral parts of a family, physically and spiritually, long after the initial moment of death.
Funerals in Indonesia include moments of prescribed mourning. But, they also include an affirmation that life and death are a continuum rather than discrete phases, a belief that eases the sting of loss.
This body of work looks at funeral rites and burial practices at life’s physical end in Bali, Sumba, a remote island in the far east near Timor, and Toraja, an isolated region of Sulawesi, a land mass due east of Borneo.
The rituals are varied, but united by a worship of ancestors and a belief in the ascendancy of the soul. Funerals aren’t occasions to merely gather and mourn the dead: they are opportunities to celebrate life, to find solace in community, and to express gratitude for the spiritual guidance of the ancestors.
This work was supported by the Photo Reporter Fesitval.