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  • Writer's pictureStephani Soejono

New Naratif Artist Respond : Hak Kami Bukan Mainan (Our rights are Not Your Plaything)

If there was one hot topic issue in Indonesia, it was the Omnibus Law. Touted as being the solution to all investment and economic problems, in reality, the law will severely impact womens' rights and environmental conservation. However, not many publication has highlighted the women's rights angle and that's why this illustration came to be.

Buto Ijo by Pramono

My initial inspiration was the figure, Buto Ijo one of the many giants in the Indonesian folklore. Buto Ijo seeks to eat Timun Mas, an elderly couple's single daughter. The second one is the Canadian novel, The Edible Woman, which is about a woman concerned that she was to be "consumed" after she was married. But somehow these sources didn't yield satisfactory results so I combed through protest pictures.

The Edible Woman, Bantam Books 1995 cover artist unknown

The next stage of finalizing my thumbnail, I still had "consumption" in mind but in addition to that, the protests made me think of Eugene Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People. I was reminded then that Indonesia has her own Lady Liberty, Ibu Pertiwi, the embodiment of the country, which eventually lead to the picture above.

As many people have mentioned, there are no accidents in illustration, and I highlighted said details as such. Ibu Pertiwi's kebaya is modeled after an old fashioned kebaya worn by many women after Indonesia's independence. Her kerongsang (kebaya button) is shaped like Garuda Pancasila, Indonesia's national symbol, and she's hugging a child,a symbol of the future generation impacted by the law. Her batik is of the Keraton Yogyakarta's Parang Barong, a pattern only worn by the Queen. As for the giant about to grab them, he is modeled after the Parliament members who only seeks to enrich themselves and consume, blood in their hand.

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