Roekmini Van Jepara

This is an illustration for a Javanese heroine in the 19th century who fought for women’s rights through wood carving and literature. In this period, the Dutch colonial government circumcised Javanese noble women of their identities and power. As an example, noble women had to go through ‘pingitan’ (they were a prisoner in their own houses from the time of menstruation until they were married). So, I draw a possible alternating situation: a door that allows them to go to a progressive future. Would women maintain their progressive roles had the Javanese won the Great War against the Dutch? I love to explore ways of recontextualising a collection of Dutch East Indies colonial picture esthetics for Indonesian storytelling history. Several vintage Dutch children’s books influenced my approach because it brings back beautiful memory of my childhood.

My fictional character is Roekmini. She was the youngest sister of Kartini, an Indonesian icon for feminism. Roekmini is less known than her sister Kartini, so it would be possible to draw an alternating world for this character. I explored a composition depicting a situation for a possible graphic novel with speech bubbles on the layout. I created a clover field texture for the ground since it is about a fictional Roekmini as ‘Her Klaverblad Van Jepara’ (Clover leaves from Jepara)

  • CommencementJanuary 2023