Nyimas Laula

2020 - Ongoing


When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, the world went into lockdown, Indonesia's government refused to impose strict-measure of social distancing, mass testing, or cancel mass events. Local communities and individuals take charge in applying their own protective measures, including voluntary self-isolation.

COVID-19 pandemic for me strangely felt more real when I was in voluntary isolation. It feels more intense I am inside my space. As a photojournalist who always put others’ voices before my own, there was an awkwardness, a reluctance to point the camera to myself, to tell a story about me, as the people who are too, affected by the pandemic. I am a person living with MPN (Myeloproliferative neoplasms) disorder, the pandemic has put my health at risk than before in my life which put me out of work, and further confined me into the space I called home.

INSIDE explores raw emotions, ideas, and projections that I experience during the isolation of a global pandemic.

In the making of the images, I rely on my intuition and spontaneous act. The project is consisting a series of self-portraits, mundane daily routines, landscapes, which I combined with writing, and watercolor drawing. I photograph something ordinary, as I try to appreciate things around me. With this approach, I hope to bring nuances into the stories about a global pandemic through a personal perspective in hopes to find a way to make sense out of disorientating experiences.

A year has passed, everything outside slowly looked back to how it was. But the feeling of confinement eerily lingers, as if it is creating an unseen barrier between myself and the reality, yet at the same time, holding a bubble of safe space where I can embrace fear, anxiety, confusion, anger, sadness, and love.

In the next phase of this project, I will document my journey in healing past trauma from sexual abuse that began while doing this project that intertwined with living through a chronic disease.

This project is produced in a digital camera, scanned Polaroid, and watercolor drawings on paper.

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  • 21 days of self-isolation, as days felt longer, I often felt disoriented with time, finding myself staring blankly to the ceiling.

  • Unmade beds, stay that way sometimes for days. I thought, why make the beds if I stay on it for the rest of the day?

  • New ways of spending Saturday night

  • In the world of dreams, there's no clear boundaries where it starts or where it ends. Most things don't make any sense. We saw figures we knew, we saw the one that's strange at all. But it's a place of wander after all.

    Mundane life: dreaming.
    The medication I took, giving me chronic fatigue that occasionally keep me in bed.

  • I spent most of my time in the kitchen. Here I'm making a fresh orange juice from foraged tangerine for a daily dose of vitamin C.

  • Day to day life has been spent on staring into computer screen, trying to keep my mind occupied, though my mind so often wanders. Here my thoughts wander to my Mom, who's a retired public health consultant, still ocassionally went on and off to the frontline to help. We live separately on different island, but her presence is near as her blanket wrap around my body, keeping me warm every night.

  • I couldn't remember the times I washed my grocery with soap. I guess this is my new normal.

  • Feeling dread of an uncertainty

  • Morning dance with the shadow

  • Birthday self-portrait during isolation.

  • The first flower I’ve grown from seeds, marigolds, or gumitir in a local name. I was really excited to harvest the first ones, and put it on a ceramic vas I made, to decorate my unmade bedroom. The more I cut it down, the more it blooms, yielding flowers.

    The more it cuts down, the more it blooms. Marigold.

  • What is the meaning of grief, when the world is so full of death?

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