About The Banda Journal

The Banda Journal highlights the legacy of centuries-long colonization and exploitation in the remote Indonesian Banda Islands. An archipelago comprises of twelve small islands surrounded by a vast sea, Banda was the setting of some earliest European ventures in Asia and played a key role in global economic history. It is because Banda was once the world's only source of the highly prized nutmeg, an aromatic spice that functioned as a preservative and was believed as a cure for various illnesses in the Middle Ages. The race for the valuable spices sent the Portuguese navigating the Cape of Good Hope, led Christopher Columbus' discovery of America, and saw the birth of the world's first multinational trading company: the Dutch East India Company. In Banda, like in many other places, the spice race resulted only in the islanders’ misery. And these days, the Banda Islands are nothing more than just a backwater.

From 2014 to 2017, photographer Muhammad Fadli and writer Fatris MF documented stories from the Banda Islands through repeated visits and stays. The result is a book filled with photographs combined with writing, hoping to give an insightful view from various facets of life on the islands, its past and its present state.

Muhammad Fadli is a Sumatran-born documentary and portrait photographer. Based in Jakarta, he works mostly on personal projects and editorial assignments. He is a regular contributor for National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, and Rest of World. His photographs have been published in various international publications such as Bloomberg Businessweek, 11 Freunde, Das Magazin, Der Spiegel, The Smith Journal, FT Weekend Magazine, Monocle, Afar, Mare, DestinAsian, and many more. His first monograph, titled Rebel Riders (2018) and published by Dienacht in Leipzig, Germany, highlights the thriving extreme Vespa community in Indonesia.


Fatris MF is a philology and folklore enthusiast who works as a researcher and freelance writer for various publication like DestianAsian Indonesia and Koran Tempo. His three published-books, Merobek Sumatra (2015), Kabar dari Timur (2018), and Lara Tawa Nusantara (2019)–which explore various themes such history, environmental issues, and the clash between cultures and modernism–are compiled from his travels to many parts of Indonesian archipelago.

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Production Team

Project Director and Produced
Muhammad Fadli

Photography and Video
Muhammad Fadli

Fatris MF

Website Concept and Builder
Muhammad Fadli, Zulkifli (baliklayar.org)

Graphic Design and Visual Concept
Jordan Marzuki and Laras Koesoemo

Text Editor and Additional Research
Cristian Rahadiansyah and James Louie

Photo Editor (book)
Yoppy Pieter dan Muhammad Fadli

Translator (English)
Nina Hidayat and Eka Nickmatulhuda

Astri Apriyani (Indonesia), Rose Hodge, and Martin Westlake (English)

Production Assistant
Atikah Zata Amani

Atikah Zata Amani, Maiza Elvira, Cristian Rahadiansyah, James Louie, Nina Hidayat, Jordan Marzuki, Laras Koesoe­mo, Mirna Aprilla, Yoppy Pieter, Atet Dwi Pramadia, Zulkifli, Putu Sayoga, Kurniadi Widodo, Eka Nickmatulhuda, Harinda Bama, Giri Prasetyo, Astri Apriyani, Samuel Res­pati, Nyimas Laula, Danar Tri Atmojo, Nathalia Gunawan, Stephanie Gunawan, David Getty, Ramadhani, Deddy Arsya, Zelfeni Wimra, Edy Purnomo, Ng Swan Ti, Celina Lunds­ford, Barbara Strauss, Juliette Garms, Janna Dotschkal, Bismo Agung, Ngiap Heng Tan, Zhuang Wubin, Lukman Ang, Ardiansyah, Yahya Ali, Wa Ramla La Silaha, Abdulah La Pari, Kardi Husin, Sari Lagua, Ramon Alwi, Reza Tuasi­kal, Murni Amalia Ridha, Adistya Fabianto, Anca Manimau, Arul, Shafira Boften, Alfan Daulau, Pongky van den Broeke, Iqbal Baadila, Faruk Baadila, Kardi Husin, Syaukani, La­haji Lasiddiq, Bahri Sabban, Zein Zainal, Munawir Borut, Ja’far Borut, Andi Borut, Masa Latar, Aipa Latar, Narti Latar, Mustika Latar, Lawataka Latar, Erna, Abdul Riva'i, Ahmad Riva'i, Polai, Hasyim, Wandi, and Nyong. Also, thank you for all collaborators and subjects in the project.


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