'We cannot heal what we will not face': Dismantling the cultural trauma and the May '98 riots in Rani P collaborations' Chinese whispers
Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics
Taylor & Francis
School of Arts and Humanities
Edith Cowan University
In May 1998, ethnic riots and widespread sexual violence occurred in several major Indonesian cities. Chinese-Indonesians were targeted and, since then, there has been an interest in feminist visual art created by Chinese-Indonesian diaspora in Australia. This article explores Chinese Whispers, a digital graphic novel by Rani Pramesti, a Chinese-Javanese-Indonesian actor and Melbourne-based performance maker, and her team of Indonesian-Australian collaborators. Applying solemn imagery, it narrates a young woman’s attempts at understanding cultural trauma that has marked both personal and public identities of Chinese-Indonesians. Imbued with black-and-white illustrations and interview transcripts, the digital graphic novel tries to answer questions regarding hatred and violence towards Chinese-Indonesians against the backdrop of political turmoil. This article assists in understanding the significance of Indonesian digital graphic narratives as a channel through which the targeted community can discuss their shared trauma and reflexive awareness by visualising cultural conflict.
Asian Studies Commons, Illustration Commons, Race and Ethnicity Commons, Social and Cultural Anthropology Commons
This is an author's accepted manuscript of: Adji, N. A., & Polain, M. (2021). 'We cannot heal what we will not face': Dismantling the cultural trauma and the May '98 riots in Rani P collaborations' Chinese whispers. Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics,13(1).