The Unremembered

Peter Carey and Vincent Houben's ‘Spirited Srikandhis and Sly Sumbadras’ (1986) translated into Indonesian as Perempuan-perempuan Perkasa (2016) opened a riveting perspective on the forgotten tales of these Javanese female warriors. It begs the question: why is it so challenging to find depictions of female empowerment in Southeast Asia's past today?

‘The Unremembered’ is the title of my illustration that depicts the female cavalry as the finest military troop of the palace in Java during the pre-colonial era (18th-19th centuries). In reframing our long overlooked female warriors, I drew upon the Rijksmuseum's lithography archives. I use a scarf as a storytelling tool to reflect on Michel Foucault’s post-structuralist material culture lens, a method that not only disseminates the story but also invites the audience to become an integral part of the storytelling process itself.

The ‘Unremembered’ artwork caught a publisher’s interest, leading to a commission redesigning the cover of Carey and Houben’s ‘Perempuan-perempuan Perkasa’ [The Mighty Women].

  • CommencementJanuary 2023