Sunday, August 14, 2011

Indonesia poised to become global home of batik

Batiklovers must not miss this upcoming event - a World Batik Summit to be held atthe Jakarta Convention Center, from September 28 to October 2, 2011.

To be organized by the Indonesian Batik Foundation (YBI) in cooperation withthe government, the Batik Summit will consist of two main events: the WorldBatik Exhibition (WBE) and the World Batik Conference (WBC).

The World Batik Summit (WBS) themed "Indonesia: Global Home of Batik"will be officially opened by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, according toOrganizing Committee Chairwoman of the World Batik Exhibition Murniati Widodoin Jakarta on Friday (Sept. 23).

The biennial World Batik Exhibition will have three themes, namely:"Multi-Partnership: Bringing Batik To The World", "Batik`sContribution to the Creative Economy", and "Batik as a CulturalHeritage: Conservation and Modernization".

"Up to now, 641 people from a number of countries have already registeredfor participation in the summit. It is double the figure last year,"Murniati said, adding that the number of participants might reach over 700.

The WBE is designed to become a promotion forum for batik producers,practitioners, craftsmen, and businessmen.

The organizing committee of the World Batik Summit (WBS) hopes to record Rp22billion worth of transactions during the five-day event.

"We hope to achieve an increase in the value of transactions compared totwo years ago when the figure was Rp18 billion,"

The conference will be highlighted with a cultural night and a fashion show tobe participated in by national and international batik designers.

Some master pieces of Indonesian designer Iwan Tirta will also be displayed inthe batik exhibition to remember the noted designer who died in July 2010.

A number of photos of foreign heads of state and government who are fond ofwearing batik, will be displayed in the exhibition. The works of junior highschool students participating in a batik design contest, will also beexhibited.

First Lady Ani Yudhoyono is expected to attend the peak activity of theNational Batik Day which will be organized at Pekalongan batik center inCentral Java, on October 3, 2011.

Batik is considered Indonesia`s most famous artistic and cultural legacy andhas developed a global reputation over centuries.

Since the inclusion of batik by UNESCO in "Intangible Cultural Heritage ofHumanity" items on September 30, 2009, the government has been activelypromoting batik domestically and internationally.

Because batik is now getting popular and on high demand, the government is mullinga master plan for the mass production of batik as a culture-based industry.

The master plan being prepared by the industry ministry, would be ready in thenext two months, Industry Minister MS Hidayat said at the presidential officerecently.

The value of Indonesia`s batik market reaches only Rp3 trillion currently. Andtherefore, the batik production must be directed toward mass products if thenation wanted to raise the batik market value, the minister said.

"Once it becomes mass products, the system of our industry will run well.Now, batik products are produced individually by batik industry handicraftcenters, which sometimes prioritize sense of art rather than the publictaste," he said.

The government will issue an appeal to government and private offices toinstruct their employees to wear batik dresses/shirts twice a week at least, inorder to support the planned batik mass production.

The government offices and a number of private offices have instructed theiremployees to wear batik at least once a week, namely on every Friday.

No batik industry in Indonesia has so far made mass productions althoughprominent batik companies such as Danarhadi and Batik Keris have exported theirbatik products to several countries in Asia.

Several regions such as Yogyakarta, West Java, Central Java, and East Java willbe prepared to support the planned batik mass productions.

According to data of the Indonesian Batik Foundation, the interest ofIndonesian people in batik has increased 40 percent since 2009.

"We got the data from the number of new batik producers and the batikconsumption throughout Indonesia," Doddy Soepardi, a member of thefoundation`s advisory board, said on Friday (Sept 23).

Indonesian batik is competitive and able to maintain its market share becauseof its high production standards.

"Indonesian batik has a specific character which does not exist in othertextiles with batik designs. It has its own philosophy, production process anddesigns," Indonesian Batik Foundation Chairperson Jultin GinandjarKartasasmita said.

Because of its high quality standards , Indonesian batik continues to be inhigh demand although its prices are higher than similar products from othercountries, she said.

"Domestic batik producers must not be worried because the governmentthrough the industry ministry has set certain standards for textiles to becalled batik, print textile is not genuine batik," she said.

The standards include a ruling that the batik production process should includethe use of "canting" or paintings and stamps, or a combination ofboth. Fully printed textile is not batik, she said.

The price of Indonesian batik is comparatively high because its basic materialis cotton that has to be imported.

So far Batik is mostly produced in Pekalongan, Solo (Central Java), Yogyakartaand Cirebon (West Java), but now batik production has developed in at least 23provinces of Indonesia.

Batik, which has been developed for centuries particularly on Java Island, iscloth which traditionally uses a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. But,thanks to modern advances in the textile industry, the term has been extendedto include fabrics which incorporate traditional batik patterns.

UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization)describes Indonesian Batik as: The techniques, symbolism and culturesurrounding hand-dyed cotton and silk garments known as Indonesian Batikpermeate the lives of Indonesians from beginning to end: infants are carried inbatik slings decorated with symbols designed to bring the child luck, and thedead are shrouded in funerary batik.

The government has given a legal protection and identity through batik markcalled "Batik Indonesia" which has been registered at the legal andhuman rights ministry`s intellectual property rights directorate general, toget patent rights, according to Industry Minister Hidayat recently.

South Korean retailer Lotte Mart plans to introduce batik products to SouthKorean consumers.

Managing Director of Lotte Mart South East Asia Moon Young Pyo said that allLotte Mart employees would be requested to wear batik during the Indonesianbatik promotion in South Korea next November.

"So at the same time they will introduce batik," he said on thesidelines of a Business Forum on "Indonesian Product Exhibition for LotteMart Korea" held at the trade ministry.

Merchandising Director of Lotte Mart Korea Kim Young Gyoon said he would alsowear batik during the promotion in Seoul.

"I like batik because it`s comfortable, and has beautiful colors anddesigns. I think modern batik will sell well in Korea," Moon Young Pyokatasaid.

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