Leonard Suryajaya uses photography to test the boundaries of intimacy, community, and family. In elaborately staged photographs bursting with patterns and colors, Suryajaya creates absurd and affectionate tableaus featuring his family, friend, and strangers. The results are photographs that are tender and critical, bound up with the struggles of familial authority and self identity. Suryajaya’s work is rooted in this upbringing as an Indonesian citizen of Chinese descent, as a Buddhist educated in Christian schools in a Muslim-majority country, and as someone who departed from his family and his culture’s definitions of love and family. Novi, Dear, focuses on the artists relationship with his sister, November, and his immediate family who still lives in their hometown in Indonesia.
Leonard Suryajaya‘s work explores the intricate and complicated layers of selfhood in the context of cultural background, intimacy, sexual preference, and personal displacement. He received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015 and BFA from California State University, Fullerton in 2013. Recent exhibitions include Irvine Fine Arts Center, CA; Expo Chicago, IL; Chicago Artist Coalition, IL; The Center for Fine Arts Photography, CO; Roy G Biv Gallery, OH. Leonard’s work is in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago; Joan Flasch Artist Book Collection and his publications include Lenscratch; Chicago Tribune; Chicago Magazine; South Side Weekly.