Bali-based Indonesian photographer Rio Helmi is the son of an Indonesian diplomat and a Turkish mother who, in the course of his Father's various postings abroad, has lived in Switzerland, Australia and Germany. Infected with wanderlust from his earliest years, Rio has traveled extensively across the world, including a year on a religious sojourn in India before returning to Indonesia and embarking on a career as a professional photographer in Bali in 1978.
Thirty years later, Rio Helmi is one of Asia’s leading photographers with his work featured in numerous books and publications. His photography has been exhibited in Jakarta, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Sydney and from his own gallery in Bali.
City of Angels, Plains of Dust
From June 15, 2007 through September 7, 2007, Jenggala Gallery at the Jenggala Ceramics Studio will feature a solo exhibition of photos by Rio Helmi - "City of Angels, Plains of Dust."
The images presented were captured while Helmi was on assignment in Thailand for a project dubbed "9 Days in the Kingdom." Organized by Editions Didier Millet, some 50 of the world's leading photographers were brought to the Kingdom to capture nine days in the life of that country from the perspective of different photographers assigned to different locales.
Helmi's assignment was in Isaan, an extremely poor corner of Thailand. Dry and arid, Isaan is in stark contrast to the Thai nation's vibrant and colorful capital of Bangkok.
Helmi's images from Isaan include throbbing discos in the town's two lonely "high rises," cartloads of fried insects awaiting diners in the night market, lines of begging monks threading their way silently through the local streets, high incidences of foreign men with local wives, new Japanese luxury cars, sprawling garbage recycling dumps – all existing amidst fields of dusty crops, emaciated cows, endless sugarcane fields and poor farmers scratching what they can out of the recalcitrant earth.
During the final days of his Thailand assignment Helmi hopped a flight to neighbor Angkor and Siam Reap in Cambodia where, according to the photographer: "all the glory and bustle of the past lies in dust and ruins, a reminder of our mortality. Being there put my whirlwind trip through Thailand into perspective."
"City of Angels, Plains of Dust" - an exhibition of photographs by Rio Helmi is open daily from June 15 though September 7, 2007 at the Jenggala Gallery at Jalan Uluwatu in Jimbaran. For more information telephone ++62-(0)361-703311.
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