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.