The All Guards; Between Man and Mountain (Seven Summyths Project)

Marten Bayuaji

About the Project

Science tries to understand, myth tries to believe.

Science creates patterns, myth creates hope.

This project wants to try to revisit the position of myth in people’s lives as guardians of the ecology. In the midst of modern society, it turns out that myths still work effectively to protect the natural environment around them, especially in places that far from cities. In Indonesia, mountains are one example where myths still work to protect their natural environment.

As a migrant living on the slopes of Mount Merapi, I realize that the people here coexist with nature in a very unique way. At first, I wondered how they were able to be so resilient against the devastating eruption of 2010. Evacuated without complaining, then returned to rebuild and farming as usual.

Behind that, it turns out that there is a strong belief that they see the mountains as more than just an object. There is an emotional connection between humans and mountains here. Maybe this is thanks to the myths that are able to merge into their daily lives. It is understandable because their daily needs are in direct contact with the mountain ecosystem. However, one thing that is interesting is when urban people who do not think much about myths become very respectful when they are on the mountain.

This project wants to learn how myth works to protect its environment, by collecting various stories and experiences of people with mountains in various regions in Indonesia. This is needed to get various perspectives from society. In addition, volcanoes in Indonesia are spread across various islands and are in direct contact with the diversity of people's lives.

The mythical stories that will be collected from various mountains in Indonesia will later become important knowledge data for creating the artworks. Representing myths in this art project is important because this kind of knowledge comes by offering another perspective in terms of preserving ecology. This work will be a space to look back at one another on how people in Southeast Asia currently live side by side with nature that provides myths and science.


Seven Summyths Project is an expedition art project collecting myths from 7 indigenous peoples in 7 mountains in Indonesia.

The All Guards; Between Man and Mountain is an artwork that built from the data of the Seven Summyths Project expedition and research.

Artist's Profile

Marten Bayuaji, born in Jepara, March 1992, an Indonesian artist who start art study in Yogyakarta State University and Bandung Institute of Technology. His practice much inspired by nature, either in physical form or the idea of nature itself. Marten often use variety media in his work, responds to a natural landscape or a specific spatial faming. His outdoor works are ephemeral in nature, a condition in which Marten is questioning about ‘how human positions in natural environment, whether good or bad’. Marten is interested in studying nature in anthropocentrism. According to him, looking back to the most basic things about how we humans perceive nature is particularly important.