Challenging State Failure? Art and Storytelling Initiatives to Address the 1965–66 Mass Violence in Indonesia
Vannessa Hearman
Pig Melon︎︎︎, Saturday October 2, 6pm–8pm

This presentation examines how art and storytelling projects in Indonesia dealing with the 1965-66 anti-communist violence are creating new historical knowledge and visibility of the human experience of this violence. An estimated half a million people, members and sympathisers of the Indonesian Communist Party (Partai Komunis Indonesia, PKI) were killed, and hundreds of thousands imprisoned, as part of an orchestrated campaign led by Major General Suharto to bring the army to power. After the Suharto regime fell in 1998, successive governments have failed to address these serious human rights violations through formal legal mechanisms. This presentation will discuss the genesis, results and impact of some of the art and storytelling projects undertaken by the third generation, defined here as those belonging to the generation of the grandchildren of the key protagonists of 1960s politics.  

Speaker biography
Dr Vannessa Hearman is Senior Lecturer in History at Curtin University. A historian of Southeast Asia, she is the author of the book Unmarked Graves: Death and Survival in the Anti-Communist Killings in East Java, Indonesia (Singapore: NUS Press, 2018). The book won the inaugural Asian Studies Association of Australia’s Early Career Book Prize. Her research deals with the Indonesian 1965-66 anti-communist violence, the politics of memory and human rights, and transnational activism related to Indonesia and East Timor.