Fotocredit: Stacii Samidin


The island of Sumatra belongs to the province of Aceh

The name Aceh is actually an abbreviation for Arabs, China, Europe and Hindus. Sumatra is a diverse island known for its Sultans, its unique culture and identity, strong coffee and spicy dishes. In addition, Aceh has a history of frequent wars against the Dutch. But contrary to western assumptions, the island has never been subject to colonial rule.

Stacii Samidin | Travel journal

Together with my fellow travellers I took a plane to Aceh province. We first visited the island of Sumatra. The first thing that struck me was that the people looked completely different. After I’d taken my first portrait photo everything became clearer. The brothers I had photographed told me that Aceh was an abbreviation for Arabs, China, Europe and Hindus. That explained the wide range of different faces and customs I encountered on the island

Fotocredit: Stacii Samidin

A special meeting
One of the highlights of my journey – and even my life – was meeting Shadia Marhaban. A strong woman who is fighting for Aceh and helped bring about the ceasefire between Indonesia and the GAM independence movement. She creates agencies to give women access to education and to mentor them to enhance opportunities in the community. What was special about this encounter was the way in which it went. For Shadia lives under protection, surrounded by an army of women. I was fortunate enough to gain the opportunity to talk to her about Aceh and to photograph her in the presence of her powerful army.