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From Sabang to Merauke, a journey across Indonesia by Chris Stowers

Indonesia – land of superlatives: the world’s largest archipelago (more than 17,000 islands spanning 4 time zones); 4th largest population – and most populous Muslim country – in the world; a land where over 300 languages are spoken and citizens range from animist mud-hut dwellers clad in penis gourds to urban sophisticates stuck in traffic jams of SUVs, shadowed by towering modernist skyscrapers.

And yet very little is known about the place beyond stereotypical images of Balinese dancers and idyllic palm-fringed beaches.

Since January 2013, Chris Stowers has been crossing the nation, from the tiny speck of Sabang, off the northwestern coast of Sumatra – Kilometer Zero in the Indonesian road system – towards the easternmost town of Merauke, at the tip of West Papua, 5,248km away. The project is on-going and nearing conclusion: a selection of some of the thousands of images gathered can be viewed on the progress blog:

ACEH_11JAN13 0009
Aceh Province, North Sumatra, Indonesia. © Chris Stowers/Panos Pictures

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Aceh Province, North Sumatra, Indonesia. © Chris Stowers/Panos Pictures

Ruten, Flores, Indonesia. © Chris Stowers/Panos Pictures

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Ambon, Indonesia. © Chris Stowers/Panos Pictures

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Ambon, Indonesia. © Chris Stowers/Panos Pictures

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Masohi, Maluku, Indonesia. © Chris Stowers/Panos Pictures

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Jakarta, Indonesia. © Chris Stowers/Panos Pictures

Waikabubak, Sumba, Indonesia. © Chris Stowers/Panos Pictures

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Chris Stowers

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