Primate Rescue Center

Photographer Captures the Disturbing Faces of Jakarta’s Monkey Street Performers

April Truitt November 23, 2013

They may have the faces of dolls, but the subjects in these photos are very much alive.

In a series called 'A Kind of You' Finnish photographer Perttu Saksa documents the disturbing world of Jakarta's monkey street performers, who are led around on chain leashes by handlers and trained to wear human masks in a sad streets shows.


The monkeys are trained to walk on their back legs, wear dresses and cowboy hats and ride bikes - but their condition as slaves is made even more deplorable by their disturbingly humanoid faces.

'Modern city culture has turned the old tradition [into an] eerie and haunting act of cruel street theater where animals become something else, never able to reach our expectations,' the photographer explained on his website.

Widodo has offered owners $90 for each monkey, as well as free training for owners and handlers to help them get a new job.

The confiscated monkeys are being transferred to a 1-hectacre sanctuary.
Roundups are already happening in Jakarta's eastern slums where the animals are kept in small cages and trained in a place known as 'monkey village'.

Sarinah, a 37-year-old monkey-owner told the Associated Press last month that the ban was hurting her livelihood. Already, seven of her macacques have been taken from her.

'Of course I'm disappointed...but I cannot do anything!' she said.

Sarinah added that she takes good care of her monkeys, and loves them as if they were her own children.

'They are the source of our life, how could we be cruel to them? No way,' she said. Sarinah estimates that she earns about $3 a day from each monkey she rents out to handlers.

Because of the ban, she has resorted to keeping the rest of her monkeys in hiding.

But others in Jakarta are welcoming the new ban.

'The performance is not entertaining at all, it is abusive,' South Jakarta resident MK Wirasaputra told the Wall Street Journal.

- Daily Mail

all photos courtesy Perttu Saska

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