Jim Allen Abel (b. 1975 Makassar, Indonesia) aka Jimbo completed a Bachelor of Arts in Photography at Indonesian Art Institute in 2005. After graduating he went on to work as a commercial photographer for some of Indonesia's top music bands touring extensively throughout the archipelago. Since leaving commercial photography work, Jimbo has gone on to present his work at Korean International Art Fair, Photography Biennale Musee du Quay Paris France, CP Biennale Jakarta, Art Stage Singapore, Art Dubai, Art | Jog, Cryptic Festival Glasgow Scotland, Bazaar Art Jakarta, Centre for Contemporary Photography Melbourne, Ricoh Ring Cube Tokyo, White Cube Gallery Kuala Lumpur, Element Art Space Singapore, Bangkok Cultural Art Centre, SongEun Seoul, Oz Fest Adelaide, Cemeti Art House and D Galeri Jakarta.
Based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Jimbo is an active member of Mes56, an artist collective focused on the critical exploration of contemporary photographic practices, since its inception in 2002. Jimbo's works primarily respond to and comment on the ways historical events are interpreted through the prism of power politics, investigating hierarchical power structures and their effects on social and interpersonal relationships.
Death is a persistent facet of life that everyone will experience in one way or another. All over the world, many different cultures have created elaborate rituals to celebrate the dead and Indonesia is no exception. With the recent death of his mother, Jim Allen Abel (Jimbo), born of Toraja in Makassar but based in Yogyakarta, have created his own elaborate ritual to mourn the passing of his mother. Drenched in blood and dressed in the traditional garb of the Toraja, Jimbo carries the head of a buffalo around his village, mirroring the parade that is often done in death rituals.
Spirituality is an unmissable part of this work, though it is not specific to one part of Indonesia. The buffalo head is used in many rituals throughout many cultures in Indonesia, whether to celebrate the dead in Toraja or to give thanks for a good harvest at sea in Jawa. Throughout the video, chanting from the Ma’badong ceremony can be heard throughout the majority of the video. What separates Jimbo’s ritual, and by proxy removed it from a purely Toraja one, are the Islamic azan performed as Jimbo walks past a mosque, and the Christian prayer that can be heard as Jimbo concludes his journey. Though dressed in traditional Toraja garb, the act itself is based on the Javanese Larung, where villagers parade to the sea and release offerings to the sea. Similarly, Jimbo ends his journey in a large body of water, a river, where he then proceeds to perform with the buffalo head, washing it and himself in that river. This is yet another action that permeates many cultures. These all culminate into a ritual that is of Toraja and yet is also not, reflecting the artist’s view and criticism of his own culture and tradition.
Jimbo's works primarily respond to and comment on the ways historical events are interpreted through the prism of power politics, investigating hierarchical power structures and their effects on social and interpersonal relationships.22nd April - 9th June 2019
Yeo Workshop presents Threads & Tensions - Stories from Southeast Asia, an exhibition showcasing the work of four contemporary artists who document changing life in the region. As the Southeast Asian region develops rapidly, Jim Allen Abel, Kanchana Gupta, Loke Hong Seng, and Santi Wangchuan present their works through mediums of photography, mix media, the weaving of fabric, and multi-sensory installations. A disparate mix of aesthetics and artistic expressions, the bodies of works by these artists are tied together by their purpose: they explore similar and overlapping themes that reflect a forgotten or endangered lifestyle in South-East Asia.4 November 2017 - 7 January 2018