Thursday, July 21, 2011

Batik's Living Heritage on Display in New Show

Batikis more than a mere textile. Its meanings and significance transcend itscolors, motifs and fabrics.

In Java, people traditionally wear certain batik designs to show their socialstature and power, or to communicate their best wishes for the future onimportant occasions such as coronations and weddings. For many people, batik ismore than just an item of clothing — it is intertwined with every aspect oftheir lives.

Batik also fosters relationships among people from different countries andcultural backgrounds. The latest exhibition at the National Gallery,“Indonesian Batik: A Living Heritage,” is evidence of how batik has broughttogether people from many different walks of life and bound them as lifelongfriends.

The exhibition offers an insight into batik’s history, its current developmentsand future possibilities.

More than 80 vintage batik pieces belonging to German and Indonesian collectorsare now on display at the gallery in Central Jakarta.

“Batik is a trademark of Indonesia,” Norbert Baas, Germany’s ambassador toIndonesia, said at the exhibition opening on Wednesday.

“Batik, with its rich colors, motifs and meanings, has always charmed visitorsto Indonesia. I think it has a lot of potential. I see a great future inbatik.”

The exhibition is part of Germany and Indonesia (Jerin), a series of culturalcelebrations to mark 60 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Martin Krummeck, deputy managing director of the German-Indonesian Chamber ofIndustry and Commerce (Ekonid), is the coordinator of the exhibition.

“Batik is not only found in Yogyakarta and Solo, but everywhere in Indonesia,”he said. “Here we want to show you a glimpse into the huge range of batik andthe many different cultures that have influenced its styles, colors andmotifs.”

The “Indonesian Batik” exhibition will run at the National Gallery until Mondaybefore traveling to East Java.

“I think more people should come to this exhibition, where they can actuallylearn something, rather than going to the malls and spending a lot of money,”said Johannas, an exhibition visitor. “It’s a very informative andwell-executed exhibition.”

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