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Dilla Djalil Daniel

The Trust of the Matter

Dilla Djalil Daniel (ID)

The Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital (FAE), where the images of The Trust of the Matter were shot, is the first elephant hospital in the world. It is dedicated solely to the care of these giant, yet sensitive and emotional mammals. The hospital was founded in 1993 by a Thai woman called Soraida Salwala. It is located in the Mae Yao National Reserve in Lampang, 75 km outside Chiang Mai, Thailand. The FAE is a non-governmental organisation that gives free care to sick elephants as well as provides free room and board for the mahouts (elephant caretakers), so they can stay on location during the hospital treatment. All of the domestic elephants in this hospital have either been abused, are sick, injured, or expecting elephants, about to have calves. Many of these elephants belong to elephant tourism camps, which are dotted around the vicinity of Chiang Mai. Most of the elephant patients stay in the hospital temporarily, however, there are five resident elephants that have been living there right from the beginning.

© Dilla Djalil Daniel, I trust you 100%, 2012

Three of them are permanently injured landmine victims, two of which, Motala and Mosha, have each had one of their legs amputated below the knee. Nonetheless, they are quite fortunate, as in 2008 Mosha had her first bespoke prosthetic leg especially crafted and designed for her. She is the first elephant in the word to wear a prosthetic leg. As for Motala, she got her first one in 2009. From time to time Motala and Mosha walk around the compound on their prosthetic limbs. It took years for the vets and paramedics to rehabilitate them and the recovery has been a long journey, involving constant treatment, patience and loving care. Each of these five permanent resident elephants has suffered their own traumatic experiences, as they were not only injured physically, but were also mentally broken. It takes great patience and dedication from the vets, mahouts and hospital staff to gradually build the mutual trust and bond with these gigantic mammals on their long road to rehabilitation.

Various artworks of the artist were exhibited at the National Museum of Finland, Korjaamo Culture Factory, Kaapeli, Teurastamo, Tähtitorninvuoren puisto, and JCDecaux Finland. Her solo exhibition “Orphans of The Forest” was held at the Klaus K hotel lobby.

© Dilla Djalil Daniel, One, two, three: up!, 2013

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Dilla Djalil Daniel (b. 1966) is a Jakarta based documentary photographer. Her first introduction to the camera was when her father gave her a boxy Kodak camera for her 9th birthday. Ever since then she has been something of a shutterbug. Dilla obtained her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Indonesia, majoring in English Literature. Dilla’s first photography mentor was her late father, and for many years she shot her objects intuitively, relying on her feelings, sensitivity and a good eye. In 2010, she decided to join a photojournalism workshop in Bangkok. She finally found the genre that suits her the most, which is storytelling by using her camera. One workshop inevitably leads to another, and she found herself attending more and more documentary and photojournalism workshops.

Dilla is an alumnus of the Foundry Photojournalism workshop, the Momenta Documentary workshop and the Obscura Workshop. These overseas workshops also suited her well, as she loves adventurous travelling. In the course of these workshops she has been fortunate to have had an impressive list of various award-winning photojournalists as her mentors. For Dilla, photography is the medium that enables her to express her feelings. It is an art form that sees the camera as a brush and light as paint, and the intent is always to narrate a story. It is her wish to carry on telling stories through her pictures, the stories she feels like telling, for as long as she can.

© Dilla Djalil Daniel, Get well soon, 2012
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