Rebel Riders (work in-progress) 

The iconic Italian Vespa by Piaggio holds a special place in the hearts of Indonesian motorists. In many Indonesian cities across the archipelago, Vespa communities thrives. Although most of them adore classic Vespas, some take their obsessions to the next level by transforming the originals into versions never imagined even by Piaggio. 

 Iponk (middle), a scooterist from South Sumatra along with his son (right) and a travel companion (left). He traveled for hundreds of kilometers to attend a Vespa event in Lampung.

Like emerging from Mad Max movies, these scooterists wander around the country riding custom-built vespa which looked too weird not only for outsiders, but also for people within Indonesian Vespa scene itself. People call these scooters Vespa Gembel, or Vespa drifters, but the owners of these Frankenstein bikes call them ‘Vespa extreme’.

Some of these Vespas have more than twenty tires attached to DIY cheap steel frames. Some are adorned with buffalo skeleton, bamboos, garbage, or anything the owners could scrape along the road. It seems that the builders wild creativity has no limit and the classic Vespas are merely just a starting point. Its uniqueness, which represents freedom of expression, attracts metalheads, punks, and rastafarians as its die-hard fans.

This project was made possible through the support of the Goethe-Institut, Ostkreuz Agentur der Fotografen and OBSCURA Festival through the Southeast Asian Photographers' Masterclass 2017. An exhibition was held in Penang last August coincided with 'We Will Have Been Young' book launch, designed and published by Dienacht Magazine (book is available for purchase online). See the book preview via the video below.