An invitation to notice: Against absence in Indonesian art history

A common thread links the headlines which emerged in December 2022 surrounding Indonesia’s revised criminal code (KUHP), and the archipelago’s art history: it twines around a myopic habit of a nation erasing the bodies and stories it deems irrelevant to its past and its present. Bereft of the outrage sparked by the criminalisation of extra-marital sex, the minutiae of revisions and elisions taking place in lesser-known legislation—like the Sexual Violence Criminal Act (RUU PKS)—often escape scrutiny. But there is also injury inflicted in the quiet reduction of legal definitions of sexual violence, and in other nuances within the KUHP which slip through the soundbites of our news cycle.

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