Maharani Mancanagara is an Indonesian artist whose works explore and reinterpret Indonesia’s complex and sometimes sensitive issues of modern socio-political and cultural history through fictional storytelling. She studied printmaking at Institut Teknologi Bandung where she began to utilize drawing, print, and the installation often time on wooden surfaces.
Rani’s interest towards history began when she discovered her grandfather’s diary, which led her into a journey of intertwining a plethora of personal histories that reflect larger socio-political dynamics of 20th century Indonesia. In her research, she often encountered intriguing personal narratives, often imbued of the source’s own subjectivity, which offers an alternative view towards documented history as well as revealing its complex layers.
In 2018, Rani held her solo exhibition titled “Zero Sum Game” at Galeri Soemardja, Bandung. The exhibition presents works centered around the Hikayat Wanatentrem series, a fictional fable that offers the audience alternative history based on the stories of political prisoners at Pulau Buru after 1965. Through these fictional fairytales, Rani subtly addresses a sensitive political issue that has been polarizing the nation for decades and invites us to question the widely accepted historical narratives, which are often written by those in power and left the minorities estranged. Rani challenges the historical narratives by reconstructing them in her rendition through metaphors and allegories.