Khairani Barokka (Indonesia/UK) is a Minang-Javanese writer and artist from Jakarta whose work centres disability justice as anticolonial praxis. She often focuses on ableist racism and patriarchy as affective flows in contemporary colonial violences, including in the fine art world and archives.

As a UK associate artist for Collecting as Practice, Khairani aims to create new creative work around how colonial and anticolonial impulses shape collecting flows and narratives, with a focus on UK colonialism in Indonesia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Khairani is currently Research Fellow at UAL’s Decolonising Arts Institute and Associate Artist at the National Centre for Writing (UK). Among her honours, she has been Modern Poetry in Translation‘s Inaugural Poet-in-Residence, a UNFPA Indonesian Young Leader Driving Social Change, an Artforum Must-See, and an NYU Tisch Departmental Fellow. Her books are Rope (Nine Arches) and Indigenous Species (Tilted Axis), and she is co-editor of Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches). She has just published poetry collection Ultimatum Orangutan (Nine Arches). Recent commissions include the ICA, Southbank Centre, and Wellcome Collection.


Image descriptions

[1] An Indonesian woman with short hair in a black dress, on the floor drawing over a white outline on a projection of her artwork from above.

[2] Book cover shows a dark purple background with two asymmetrical gold stripes running down the left and right sides of the frame, and a diagonal white rectangle with the words ‘ULTIMATUM ORANGUTAN’ and ‘KHAIRANI BAROKKA’ on it, in black text, separated by a small, purple stripe. The image shows a brown hand, upright with palm out, throwing purple and white energy attacks at a black-and-white bulldozer. Behind them is a purple-tinted image of Tanah Datar, West Sumatra, Indonesia.

[3] In black and white, a background of an abstraction of Annah la Javanaise painting, with Javanese script over the figure’s eyes. A purple hand holds an eraser over the image.

[4] Digital illustration and poetry by Khairani Barokka, a page from Indigenous Species (Tilted Axis Press, 2016). The following poem is written in black text against a bright blue background, surrounded by a bright, red-and-blue patterned river, and traditional Dayak symbols for wanderers, in black. And develop philosophy so astonishing / It will be studied by all of five / Anthropologists in one-movie-theatre, / Frostbitten towns in far-off lands,/ And drivers in cities the factory built into ash, / Who wish they had more time to know. / Alam takambuang menjadi guru. / Nature as teacher and womb, / Zygote fraternal twin to sapling.

[5] Image by Khairani Barokka, illustrated still from performance lecture Caption in Red Thread: D/deaf and Disabled Narratives in the African-Caribbean, Asian and African Art in Britain Archive. [White background. In black handwriting] “What policies—by municipality, or nation state, or university, or one’s own family—prevent people from disclosing D/deafness and/or disability, in a world where [in red handwriting] colonial, capitalist ableism requires subterfuge for survival? Subterfuge that may threaten our lives [in black handwriting]—for instance, by not making ourselves available to care—as much as preserve them. [This last period is connected to the question mark at the end of “survival” with an abstract tangle of red thread on the right hand side of the page.]

Artist’s website

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Please note all artist-in-residence biographies are accurate at the time of their residency. For up-to-date bios please visit the artist’s website.


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