Scituate’s Wiharso wins photography award

Scituate’s Wiharso wins photography award

A photograph Dominic Wiharso submitted in the YoungArts competition he said was inspired by his two communities including the cityscapes of Indonesia where he grew up and rural Scituate.

SCITUATE – Translating his Indonesian culture and history against the rural backdrop of Scituate in photography earned Scituate High School senior Dominic Wiharso the third-place award for the 2021 National YoungArts Foundation in photography.

Wiharso, son of Christine Cocca, is one of 659 students nationwide to win the YoungArts Foundation award, where he was recognized at Merit level, the third-highest honor, by a panel of artists through a blind adjudication process.

The YoungArts Foundation gives winning youth artists access to a comprehensive program for artists in the U.S., including opportunities for financial, creative and professional development throughout their careers.

In the art realm, Wiharso studied art, film and guitar in high school, and left photography as a hobby he worked with on the side. Over the years, he said he progressively grew his style, including portraits and using his Indonesian background as a muse.

“Most art is on my own time. I think I make better art that way,” he said.

He and his family moved to the U.S. for his freshman year at Scituate High School. He said the contrast between rural Scituate and the cities of Indonesia is seen in much of his work.

Wiharso said he looks to photography to create a “theoretical commonality” between his experiences. He said Scituate has rural landscapes and small-town traditions that he’s learned to admire and understand.

“My work talks about my history and my story and the contrast of my two worlds. I’ve become very deliberate in how I take photos,” he said.

Wiharso received early acceptance to Columbia University of New York where he will study film and minor in environmental sustainability or human rights.

He said he hopes to make documentaries, saying nature films inspire him.

Of his award, Wiharso said he could use the opportunity to take out mini-grants to pay for location rentals or lighting fixtures for photoshoots. He said YoungArts provides lifelong job opportunities that he looks forward to taking advantage of during his career.

SHS Principal Michael Hassell said the school is incredibly proud of Wiharso, and he has no doubt he will continue to do great things and help make the world a better place.

“His dedication to his art and the contributions he’s made to our school, particularly through his founding of the Social Justice Club, makes him a great example of what it means to be a Scituate Spartan,” Hassell said.