Leonard Suryajaya

November 2020

Leonard Suryajaya lives and works in Chicago, Illinois. He is an Indonesian citizen of Chinese descent, a Buddhist educated in Chinese schools in a Muslim country, and a person who lives within the cultural tension between his family and queer relations. He photographs elaborately staged tableaux of his family notable for jarring combinations of colors, patterns, and poses that embody all of these tensions. Suryajaya holds joint degrees (BA in Theater Arts and a BFA in Photography) from California State University at Fullerton (2013), an MFA in photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2015), and he attended Maine’s Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2017). He has won numerous awards including the Robert Giard Foundation Fellowship and the Santo Foundation Individual Award, both in 2016. Besides lecturing extensively, Suryajaya has exhibited work internationally, including at Acarya Asanga Hall (Medan, Indonesia), Artists’ Coalition at Expo Chicago, Athens Photo Festival 2018 at Benaki Museum, Filter Photo (Chicago), Leroy Neiman Gallery (New York City),Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), and Photoforum Pasquart (Biel, Switzerland).


While the COVID-19 pandemic has constrained our ability to physically host artists in Syracuse, Light Work has responded innovatively to offer continued support in the form of remote residencies. The remote residency experience support artists in developing their artistic practice from their home or designated studio space. In addition to the stipend, artists will benefit from technical, professional, and creative support, as well as the extraordinary freedom to determine their own residency’s shape and timing. Our AIR participants can use their month to pursue their projects: photographing, scanning, printing, editing for book projects, and working closely with our staff for feedback and conversation.