Saturday, 22 October 2011

Time LightBox: Xavier Comas' The Rumoh Raja


Photo © Xavier Comas- Courtesy TIME Lightbox
LightBox, TIME’s photo department's blog, is really one of my top photo destinations almost every day, and one of its recent features is incredibly compelling.

The feature is titled The Rumoh Raja, and is by Spanish photographer Xavier Comas, who shows us photographs made in Thailand’s southern region. The people of the region are mostly ethnic Malay and Muslim, and are descendants of people who had lived once in an independent sultanate.
"Somehow, the house possesses its inhabitants, who merge into the darkness of its shadows."
Xavier spent three months living with an ethnic Malay Muslim family in the decrepit shell of a once splendid palace at the invitation of a local imam's helper and a shaman-healer. The Rumoh Raja (ie the “Raja’s house”) used to be occupied by Tengku Samsuddin, a turn of the century aristocrat who governed the semi-autonomous Malay state of Legeh until it and other territories were swallowed up by the kings of Siam in 1909.

The current inhabitant claims the upper floors of the palace are still haunted by he spirits of two women in red, court concubines who still dance in mourning for their fallen Raja.

Dark and brooding as befits the subject matter, this feature is will leave you wondering whether the building hosts ghosts or not.