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Hello and welcome!

On this page you will encounter the protagonists of Stories of Wounds and Wonder: the she rat / narrator Puteri, the long-tailed monkey Moni, the dog Bello, and the sparrows Trini and Lima. Each of them is introduced by a drawing and a text recounting their life story, challenges and connections.

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Puteri (she/her) – Our Rat, Narrator, Storyteller

The stories of Puteri, Our Rat, traverse across multiple trajectories, paths and the folded worlds of the past, present and future. Within Indonesian conventional storytelling practices, storytellers are imagined as male storytellers. Thus, they retain a male authoritarian gaze, which includes the colonial gaze. This is also true of the wayang (shadow puppet theatre) tradition, where the storytellers and puppet masters known as dalang are almost exclusively male. ›››

Puteris companions – Moni

Moni lives in the Nglanggeran Jungle with her colony, a big family of long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis). The forest used to be a resourceful place for them. The current urban developments, however, are making it increasingly difficult for the macaques to obtain food in the forest. ›››

Puteris companions – Armina

Armina is Moni’s distant cousin who lives in Surabaya, East Java. An unfortunate event caused Armina to be part of the topeng monyet, the dancing macaque troupe which belongs to Adhi Usadha, a human animal tamer, or an animal master. Literally meaning ‘monkey with a mask’, topeng monyet is quite a traditional street performance genre where an animal tamer-cum-musical performer travels around the city along with a macaque. ›››

Puteris companions – Bello

Bello is a mixed breed of Balinese Kintamani and Timorese dog who lives around Port Kupang. No one knows neither Bello’s family members nor the human family where he might have been previously adopted. There have been attempts to bring Bello to an animal lover organisation in the city but none of these attempts have been successful. Bello seems to enjoy living by himself. ›››

Trini and Liman

Trini is a Timor Sparrow (Padda fuscata) who often wanders around the Nglanggeran Jungle. It might be uncommon to see a Timor Sparrow in Java; this bird is usually not regarded as a migratory bird. When Trini was playing in the grassland somewhere in Oecusse-Ambeno (Timor Leste), she was caught by a group of bird lovers and traded in Pasar Burung Bintang (Bintang bird market) and in Medan (North Sumatera). ›››

Reading Table

Bubandt, Nils, The Empty Seashell: Witchcraft and Doubt on an Indonesian Island, NUS Press, Singapore, 2015 ›››

Boonstra, Sadiah, ’Putting on a show; Collecting, exhibiting, and performing wayang at the Tropenmuseum from colonial times until the present’, Wacana, Journal of the Humanities of Indonesia, Vol. 20: No. 1, Article 6, November 2022 ›››

Le Guin, Ursula K., Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences, Penguin Books, New York, 1987 ›››

Matsuoka, Atsuko, and Sorenson, John, Critical Animal Studies. Towards Trans-species Social Justice, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham, 2018 ›››

Wessing, Robert, ‘A Princess from Sunda. Some Aspects of Nyai Roro Kidul,’ Asian Folklore Studies, January 1997 ›››