Face Of The Day

Monkey_Mask

For his series Monkey TownEd Wray photographed Topeng Monyet (performing monkeys) and their handlers in Jakarta. Many handlers would put baby doll heads on their moneys as masks. He discusses the project with Greta Rybus:

I did feel quite sorry for the monkeys. There was a particular monkey who had recently had a baby and her handler made her and her baby stand and perform in traffic. The poor monkey was trying to wave to cars with one hand, keep her hyperactive baby from jumping into traffic with the other, all the while being jerked by a chain around her neck. I generally wouldn’t describe most of the handlers as cruel people – though this I thought was very cruel.

While it was mainly a visual fascination with the surreal side of the Topeng Monyet that led me to this story, I’d also like to mention that I looked at this not so much as a story about cruelty to animals, though it certainly is, but as a look at the sometimes terrible things people are forced to do in extreme poverty. It’s a very sad situation.