Indigenous Species

A young girl is abducted and smuggled aboard a boat bound upstream on an Indonesian river, through a landscape scarred by ecological destruction and historical greed. As her captors take her ever deeper into the jungle, her uncertain fate is compounded by the sense of her environment as a place of violence, destruction and jeopardy. But it is also a place from which she herself is indigenous, and if she can root herself back into its landscape and languages, she may yet save herself. 

Khairani Barokka addresses issues of pollution, consumerism, and habitat destruction with a poet's sensibility, and her frenetic neon artwork, inspired by contemporary glitch artists while also incorporating traditional motifs, aims to overturn our ideas of the jungle as a place of threatening darkness. Indigenous Species is also a bold and necessary experiment in making a sight-impaired-accessible art book: Tilted Axis is producing a separate edition which will feature Braille alongside text for sighted readers, and tactile, embossed imagery.


‘Everyone who is interested in art/poetry/politics should be reading and looking at Khairani Barokka’s work.’ — Sophie Collins

Indigenous Species is an oceanic howl in your face. A complex soup of darkness, lushness, pollution, landfills outside Jakarta, palm oil deforestation, resilience and outsiderness… Angry, delicate and deeply touching at once.’ — Bruno Verner

‘A ballad about wounded islands and their people, Indigenous Species reminds me of an old song, the kind our village storytellers used to sing. It has a fairytale quality, setting a dreamlike world alongside the horror of real lives; in other words, it’s like a lullaby, but one that will make you stay awake.’ — Eka Kurniawan, author of Beauty is a Wound

Rights Profile

Rights Available
World, all languages

Original Language

Samples Available
Full text available in English



Publication Date

December 2016


Indigenous Species on the Tilted Axis website