Sunday, February 5, 2012

Batik's Living Heritage on Display in New Show

Batik is more than a mere textile. Its meanings and significance transcend its colors, motifs and fabrics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Martin Krummeck, deputy managing director of the German-Indonesian Chamber of Industry 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 and the many different cultures that have influenced its styles, colors and motifs.”

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

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

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