Exhibitions of some sort occur every day in Jakarta. Some of these exhibitions are informative and well-organized. Others, however, are just a jumble of products arrayed in nondescript booths in large halls.
In most cases, these booths are staffed by salespeople that may not really understand the products featured. Customers often end up bargaining for the lowest prices for items while still unsure of their quality or value.
Three years ago, a group of artisans, craftspeople and designers met to change things. They initiated a unique and interactive showcase called Meet the Makers. Since 2009, the event has been held twice a year in Jakarta and Bali.
“The idea is to present crafts as art and showcase them in an environment where their cultural context, integrity and workmanship can be fully appreciated,” said American anthropologist Sharon Lumbantobing, who is organizing the event.
Lumbantobing has lived and worked among Indonesian artisans for more than two decades. The 6th Meet the Makers, which will be held in the Koi Gallery in Kemang, South Jakarta, from Nov. 1 to 3, will feature a fine selection of traditionally patterned ceramics, batiks and housewares from all over the archipelago.
Cultural performances, such as angklung, a West Javanese bamboo percussion instrument, Dayak tribal dance from Kalimantan, and wayang kulit (leather puppet) shows, will also be highlights of the exhibition.
The Riak Bumi Foundation from West Kalimantan will also launch its new book, “Koleksi Motif Tikar Dayak Iban” (“Dayak Iban Woven Mat Motifs”) at the event.
“It will be a book of photographs of the beautiful motifs of woven-mats produced by weavers in Kapuas Hulu, West Kalimantan,” Lumbantobing said.
There will also be an array of demonstrations aimed at helping customers understand the crafts, as well as the complex techniques involved in creating the objects.
“Visitors can also try to weave, do batik or make ceramics,” Lumbantobing said. “People need access to the makers. The crafts are all made by hand, so it’ll be interesting to know how to make them and who actually makes them.”
But the focus of the event will certainly be “the makers” — the artisans themselves. Fourteen artisans, including those highlighted below, from West Java, Yogyakarta, Central Java, West Timor and Kalimantan will personally meet and greet their customers, as well as demonstrate their crafts in the event.
Meet the Makers
Nov. 1 to 3
Jalan Kemang Raya No. 72
Tel. 021 719 5668
Read more: Jakarta Globe