Nourish Batik as Indonesian Culture by Learning from the Senior Expertise – A CSII project

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During the visit to the Jakarta Textile Museum, I met with with Mrs Kris who has already retired but still teaching how to do Batik art to public. She hopes that many young people will learn to make batik so that this culture can be preserved.

Batik is a craft that has a high artistic value and has become part of the culture of the Indonesian nation. Batik uses canting and liquid wax so that the paintings form art-worthy paintings on Mori cloth. Batik comes from the words amba and tik which are Javanese, which means to write dots. Batik is not only known and popular among the people of Indonesia, but batik is also famous among the world community. Batik is able to penetrate foreign markets, and explore Europe, Asia, Australia, America, and even Africa.

On October 2th, 2009, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated batik as a world cultural heritage originating from Indonesia. In English, batik is designated as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. UNESCO recognizes batik as a world cultural heritage originating from Indonesia because it meets various criteria, including being rich in symbols and philosophies of the life of the Indonesian people. With UNESCO’s recognition of batik, no other country can claim batik. This is one of the benefits that the Indonesian people get from UNESCO’s recognition of batik. This recognition from UNESCO was also welcomed by the Indonesian government with the stipulation of the national batik day on October 2, the government also invited all Indonesian people to use batik on the national batik day.

I met Mrs.Kris who has been working in the museum since 1987, almost 35 years. Such an honor to have a short interview with her and get to know about her experience of working in the museum. Mrs. Kris actually already retired, however, she is still actively involved in teaching batik to visitors to the Museum. She has a related background in education, she took the major of Batik when she was young. During her career in the museum, she has been involved in several events to demonstrate Batik and Tenun in the local project (i.e., as a demonstrator for local people in the batik industry factory, and also teaching students from any schools).

Most students was coming from the University of Indonesia, and the University of Jakarta. Moreover, Mrs Kris was often involved in international exhibitions to introduce Batik worldwide. For example in Malaysia, US, Netherlands, and Australia.

Mrs. Kris said that making Batik is like a hobby and it can also as a meditation practice – for you need focus, creativeness, and mindfulness in the making process. Mrs.Kris also teaches batik to adults and also elderly– many senior people come to the museum to learn batik as the way they want to still be productive in their senior ages. A lot of them are also from abroad. Mrs. Kris has the aspiration for the Batik to always be maintained and to be nourished since she realizes the high value of Batik as a unique Indonesian culture. Mrs. Kris hopes that many young people will learn to make batik so that this culture can be preserved. That’s why Mrs. Kris is always passionate about sharing knowledge and is still productive in teaching making Batik even though she is already retired.

Batik must be preserved by all Indonesian people, not only the government has a role in preserving batik, but the community also has an important role in this. Batik must be preserved so that it does not happen again being claimed by other countries. As an Indonesian person, I was encouraged by Mrs. Kris to nourish Indonesia’s cultural heritage. By learning and understanding the importance of preserving batik as an Indonesian cultural heritage, here are some ways that Mrs. Kris has taught us to preserve batik as a cultural heritage, be proud to use batik, involve the younger generation to produce batik, government support for batik businesses, holding batik exhibitions, introducing batik to the international scene.

The Jakarta Textile Museum is also known as ‘Museum Tekstil’ in Bahasa Indonesia was founded in 1976. The Textile Museum in Jakarta provides insight into the history of textiles and more specifically Batik – Indonesia’s most popular fabric.



Written by Asa Onsai

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