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Chicago Artists Coalition Exhibit Shows What It’s Like to Be a Queer Outsider in Muslim North Sumatra

Leonard Suryajaya’s Don’t Hold On to Your Bones opens in March.

Photo: Courtesy of Leonard Suryajaya

When artist and photographer Leonard Suryajaya returned to his native Indonesia last winter, the 27-year-old’s aim was to document his fraught childhood memories of growing up queer and part Chinese in Medan, North Sumatra. His vibrant staged images explore the pressures of developing an outsider identity in the strict Muslim province. “A constant layer of displacement” is the South Loop resident’s description of Homeland Security (Souvenir for My Home Country with Bacon), a work in which he uses patterned paper to create optical illusions. “It’s confusing, bewildering, and funny.” Don’t Hold On to Your Bones opens March 4 at the Chicago Artists Coalition, 217 North Carpenter Street. chicagoartistscoalition.org

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