Maharani Mancanagara


1990. Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia.


Bahasa Indonesia

Lives & Works

Bandung, West Java, Indonesia


Maharani Mancanagara's work reflects on and reinterprets Indonesia’s complex and sometimes sensitive issues of modern socio-political and cultural history through fictional storytelling. She studied printmaking at the Institut Teknologi Bandung, where she began to utilize drawing, print, painting, and installation,, oftentimes on used wood surfaces.

Drawing on her personal family experiences of relocation and aggression in Indonesia prior to independence, Maharani's work refers to and develops conversation about the condition of social equality, investigating its political and social complexity via the study of form and materiality. Maharani’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 study, she frequently met compelling personal narratives, often imbued with the source’s own subjectivity, which offers an alternative view towards documented history as well as revealing its complex layers.

Maharani has held solo and group exhibitions in Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.

Artist Statement

Maharani's childhood was heavily influenced by Indonesia's cultural variety. Folklore was more than simply bedtime stories; it conveyed hope, wisdom, and moral advice, transforming us into better people. One such story, Malin Kundang from Minangkabau culture, taught excellent lessons about many aspects of life. A similar story appears in Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam folklore under names: Si Tanggang and Nahkoda Manis. The three folklore stories from three different countries share similar themes but differ in their endings and artefacts.

These stories, based on the social objectives, traditions, and lessons, resonate throughout generations, demonstrating shared ideals amidst cultural differences. The connections between these Malay folklores emphasize the long-term impact of migration, where traditions communicate with new circumstances. Migration forces us to adapt and grow while maintaining our distinctiveness, but history frequently represents a single viewpoint. Is there a deeper reason behind Malin, Tanggang, and Nahkoda's actions?

This series of artworks represents an individual's freedom to interpret history. Malin, Tanggang, and Nahkoda provide fresh insights into their hardships away from home. It encourages us to explore other people's perspectives and challenges the idea of a single narrative. This exploration shows the complexities of human experiences and the interconnection of cultures, emphasising the significance of empathy and understanding.

Acknowledgements & Collaborators

Nurrachmat Widyasena and Meutia Afifah.
Supported by the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture.


Exhibiting at

Fremantle Arts Centre

FAC is a multi-arts organisation based in a historic building complex in Fremantle, Western Australia.

FAC is an IOTA24 Major Exhibition Partner.


1 Finnerty Street, Fremantle