It is undeniable that Indonesian batik has become a hot commodity in recent years. Many fashion designers have used it to create dresses, sundresses, work apparel and formal evening gowns. Many banks and offices in the country also have made it compulsory to wear batik on Fridays.
“But the trend is declining these days,” said Kantoro Permadi, events and promotions manager at Grand Indonesia Shopping Town in Jakarta.
“As we can see, fewer and fewer people wear batik, even on Fridays. I’m afraid if we let it be [as such], batik will again be forgotten by Indonesian people.”
That is why Grand Indonesia has presented the Eksobatika festival this month.
Eksobatika comes from the full name of the festival, “Eksotika Batik dan Karya Indonesia” (“Exoticism of Batik and Indonesian Crafts”).
“Basically, it’s an exhibition and showcase of Indonesian craftsmanship, with a special focus on batik,” Kantoro said. “We hope the event can revive our love and sense of pride for batik.”
The festival kicked off with a fashion show by Alleira Batik, a clothing label, on Aug. 1.
The Eksobatika festival includes a series of fashion and talk shows at the main atrium of the mall.
For the festival, the main atrium has been transformed to resemble a Javanese village with a group of joglo wooden houses. A wooden bridge connects the houses.
“We are trying to recreate the old-time kampung atmosphere,” Kantoro said. “I believe that many of us who live in the city, miss that.”
Some of the joglos in the main atrium are selling traditional Betawi snacks, such as toge goreng (fried bean sprouts), es selendang mayang (traditional iced drink) and arumanis (cotton candy). Prices for the snacks range from Rp 10,000 to Rp 15,000 ($1 to $1.50).
The main atrium also hosts creative activities for kids, including angklung (traditional bamboo music instrument), batik painting and toy-making classes.
“They’re all designed to introduce kids to Indonesian arts and craftsmanship,” Kantoro said.
The Skybridge area at Grand Indonesia presents a dozen beautifully decorated booths of famous Indonesian designers, such as Iwan Tirta, Dina Midiani, Hannie Hananto and Lenny Agustin.
“You can easily find new outfits to celebrate Idul Fitri at these booths,” Kantoro said.
Until Aug. 17, whenever you spend more than Rp 1 million at the mall, you will be entitled to a ticket for an instant-win lucky draw.
“Everyone will certainly win something in the lucky draw,” Kantoro said.
Top prizes include a cruise to Komodo National Park and hotel vouchers for Plataran Borobudur in Magelang, Central Java, and Plataran Bali Resort & Spa.
“You can also win special Ramadan parcels of exclusive designer items,” Kantoro said.
The festival will end on Aug. 26. That afternoon, Guruh Soekarnoputra, an artist and the son Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, will host a talk show and a batik workshop.
Read more: Jakarta Globe