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Javanese Batiks: Tradition to Innovation in Wax & Dye
October 28, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm PDT
Join Javanese batik expert and collector Martha Banyas as she discusses tradition to innovation in wax and dye.
The island of Java, Indonesia is home to some of the most sophisticated and complex Batik textile art in the world. It is not only exquisitely beautiful and masterful but can be innovative as well as traditional. For 20 years, Martha Banyas ran Apa Ini, a fine hand-made import business with seasonal sales and they spent many months every year in Indonesia. They discovered the extraordinary batiks from Java right from the beginning, and within a short time they were making yearly trips to Central Java. At first, Martha bought and collected batiks from the Yogyakarta and Surakarta areas, but soon after they started taking yearly road trips to the North Coast of Java, visiting 5 or 6 of the old batik centers–cities or villages. These areas have a rich history and tradition of batik that is still alive and well.
In former times, many areas which Martha visited each had very distinctive styles and batik motifs, specific to their region or even their village. They visited many small workshops and studios in these centuries-old centers for batik such as Cirebon, Pekalongan, Lasem, and Tuban. The North Coast of Java has been on the ancient Asian trade routes for more than 1000 years, and consequently, there are very old communities of Chinese, Malay and Muslims who have incorporated their distinctive design elements into the regional batiks. Batik is still a commonly worn textile of Indonesia, for both everyday and formal wear. Any ceremonial occasion is resplendent with people wearing great varieties of batik.
Besides the time-honored styles and motifs of Javanese batik, many younger artists are utilizing batik to make their work, and who have pushed the boundaries of the material and stretched the meanings of these textiles. Nia Fliam and Agus Ismoyo, working in Yogya are making brilliant and beautiful batiks from wearable textiles to hanging sculptures.
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