It would be hard to visit Indonesia and not notice the intricately patterned batik shirts and dresses worn by so many people. Locals tend to associate batik — the fabric that results from a traditional dying process — with cities like Yogyakarta, Solo and Pekalongan, Central Java.
A city in West Java, however, is trying to buck the trend by establishing itself as a batik center through an exhibition designed to showcase the beauty of batik motifs from Indramayu.
The exhibition, titled “Indramayu Dari Dekat” (“Indramayu Up Close”), showcases batik cloth from the city and other handcrafted products made by local artisans from the region.
“The quality of batik from Indramayu is just as good as that from any other place,” said Carwati Basuri, who owns a small batik business in Indramayu.
“We make beautiful batik. I want to let people know that they can also wear batik from Indramayu.”
Traditional batik is made by using wax and dye to create patterns on fabric. In Javanese batik, those patterns have special meanings rooted in traditional ideas about the universe. Indramayu has its share of signature batik motifs, such as perang teja (knights’ war), merak ngibing (dancing peacock), kereta kencana (gold chariot) and kembang suket (wild flowers), but the region still isn’t considered a leader when it comes to producing batik.