Batik lovers must not miss this upcoming event - a World Batik Summit to be held at the Jakarta Convention Center, from September 28 to October 2, 2011.
To be organized by the Indonesian Batik Foundation (YBI) in cooperation with the government, the Batik Summit will consist of two main events: the World Batik 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 to Organizing Committee Chairwoman of the World Batik Exhibition Murniati Widodo in Jakarta on Friday (Sept. 23).
The biennial World Batik Exhibition will have three themes, namely :"Multi-Partnership: Bringing Batik To The World", "Batik`s Contribution to the Creative Economy", and "Batik as a Cultural Heritage: Conservation and Modernization".
"Up to now, 641 people from a number of countries have already registered for 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 Rp22 billion worth of transactions during the five-day event.
"We hope to achieve an increase in the value of transactions compared to two years ago when the figure was Rp18 billion,"
The conference will be highlighted with a cultural night and a fashion show to be participated in by national and international batik designers.
Some master pieces of Indonesian designer Iwan Tirta will also be displayed in the 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 of wearing batik, will be displayed in the exhibition. The works of junior high school students participating in a batik design contest, will also be exhibited.
First Lady Ani Yudhoyono is expected to attend the peak activity of the National Batik Day which will be organized at Pekalongan batik center in Central Java, on October 3, 2011.
Batik is considered Indonesia`s most famous artistic and cultural legacy and has developed a global reputation over centuries.
Since the inclusion of batik by UNESCO in "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" items on September 30, 2009, the government has been actively promoting batik domestically and internationally.
Because batik is now getting popular and on high demand, the government is mulling a 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 the next two months, Industry Minister MS Hidayat said at the presidential office recently.
The value of Indonesia`s batik market reaches only Rp3 trillion currently. And therefore, the batik production must be directed toward mass products if the nation 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 handicraft centers, which sometimes prioritize sense of art rather than the public taste," he said.
The government will issue an appeal to government and private offices to instruct their employees to wear batik dresses/shirts twice a week at least, in order to support the planned batik mass production.
The government offices and a number of private offices have instructed their employees to wear batik at least once a week, namely on every Friday.
No batik industry in Indonesia has so far made mass productions although prominent batik companies such as Danarhadi and Batik Keris have exported their batik products to several countries in Asia.
Several regions such as Yogyakarta, West Java, Central Java, and East Java will be prepared to support the planned batik mass productions.
According to data of the Indonesian Batik Foundation, the interest of Indonesian people in batik has increased 40 percent since 2009.
"We got the data from the number of new batik producers and the batik consumption throughout Indonesia," Doddy Soepardi, a member of the foundation`s advisory board, said on Friday (Sept 23).
Indonesian batik is competitive and able to maintain its market share because of its high production standards.
"Indonesian batik has a specific character which does not exist in other textiles with batik designs. It has its own philosophy, production process and designs," Indonesian Batik Foundation Chairperson Jultin Ginandjar Kartasasmita said.
Because of its high quality standards , Indonesian batik continues to be in high demand although its prices are higher than similar products from other countries, she said.
"Domestic batik producers must not be worried because the government through the industry ministry has set certain standards for textiles to be called batik, print textile is not genuine batik," she said.
The standards include a ruling that the batik production process should include the use of "canting" or paintings and stamps, or a combination of both. Fully printed textile is not batik, she said.
The price of Indonesian batik is comparatively high because its basic material is cotton that has to be imported.
So far Batik is mostly produced in Pekalongan, Solo (Central Java), Yogyakarta and Cirebon (West Java), but now batik production has developed in at least 23 provinces of Indonesia.
Batik, which has been developed for centuries particularly on Java Island, is cloth which traditionally uses a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. But, thanks to modern advances in the textile industry, the term has been extended to include fabrics which incorporate traditional batik patterns.
UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization) describes Indonesian Batik as: The techniques, symbolism and culture surrounding hand-dyed cotton and silk garments known as Indonesian Batik permeate the lives of Indonesians from beginning to end: infants are carried in batik slings decorated with symbols designed to bring the child luck, and the dead are shrouded in funerary batik.
The government has given a legal protection and identity through batik mark called "Batik Indonesia" which has been registered at the legal and human rights ministry`s intellectual property rights directorate general, to get patent rights, according to Industry Minister Hidayat recently.
South Korean retailer Lotte Mart plans to introduce batik products to South Korean consumers.
Managing Director of Lotte Mart South East Asia Moon Young Pyo said that all Lotte Mart employees would be requested to wear batik during the Indonesian batik promotion in South Korea next November.
"So at the same time they will introduce batik," he said on the sidelines of a Business Forum on "Indonesian Product Exhibition for Lotte Mart Korea" held at the trade ministry.
Merchandising Director of Lotte Mart Korea Kim Young Gyoon said he would also wear batik during the promotion in Seoul.
"I like batik because it`s comfortable, and has beautiful colors and designs. I think modern batik will sell well in Korea," Moon Young Pyokata said.