The mission of the Art Center is to nurture artistic activities and create public awareness of both contemporary and traditional arts within today’s context. Among its many activities, the Art Center organizes exhibitions; conducts educational and outreach programs; produces publications; and networks and collaborates with local and international cultural institutions”.
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A group exhibition featuring:
Ace House Collective
, Cahaya Negeri
, Eldwin Pradipta, 
Restu Ratnaningtyas.

15 November 2017 – 28 February 2018

Mella Jaarsma

This exhibition is made of works by Indonesian contemporary artists compared with the traditional batik from the Danar Hadi Museum Collection. The role of batik in the Indonesia’s history is a very important part of the cultural identity of the country. The connotations of batik related to the various aspects of the Indonesian culture and society are changed over the years.

Mella Jaarsma, the curator, says about Batik: “When we look at batik developments in Indonesia, we realize they reflect cultural transfers and changes while they also contribute and relate to political and economic policies. Currently, if we go to the local market to buy batik, we will find piles of cotton silk-screened with batik motifs, fulfilling the demands of batik trends with cheap mass production. When we talk about batik, are we talking about the technical aspects of the wax application and dye techniques on a woven fabric? Or, is this about batik motifs and patterns? There are various definitions and interpretations to sort through as we try to understand the meaning of batik in its cultural context”.

A part of the Danar Hadi Museum Collection in Surakarta has been selected and it invites the visitors to reflect upon various aspects: Batik as Identity, Environmental and Foreign Influences, Gender, Political Developments, Batik as a Commodity.

In the gallery below there are some works of the exhibition and a short related explanation. In the next post we will focus on one specific work made by a group of artists that has done a very interesting work with a mix of different media.

1. Significant Scenarios, artist group Cahaya Negeri. “The audience is invited to enter a batik structure that resembles a labyrinth. Whereas batik is usually worn when entering the batik labyrinth, the audience will be surrounded by various sensations of new visual motifs that are composed of ornamentation, aromas, light play, and leveling gimmicks that involve gestures and postures of the viewer. The audience will meet facades of motifs, and the shadows of the viewers’ bodies will merge with the entire scenario”. (…)

2. Shadow Stamp / Tjap Bayang, Eldwin Pradipta. “This is a three video projected through copper stamps of batik design. This piece grows out of two previous works that concern the commodification of the culture and history of the city of Bandung, a city with a colonial inheritance. Thus, this piece reexamines the position of batik in Bandung as a commodity and as an element of local identity. Batik is one of the cultural traditions and is imbued with philosophical values. However, because of subsequent development throughout the years, the traditional values originally embodied in batik have lost their importance. This work is a celebration of presenting contemporary batik motifs that are not imbued with traditional philosophy and do not have ties with collective social values”.

3. Regrowing: Hierarchy, Cotton, Indigo, Synthetic Color, and Tapioca, Restu Ratnaningtyas. “This work is based on her interest in women’s position in the batik industry that is not limited to their role as laborer (usually applying the wax to the cloth), but also as the “locomotive” that steers a batik home industry. This work strives to translate these concepts and perhaps, in general to encourage us to question the models of gender relations in other cultural practices that tend to position women in subordinate roles”.

More info here.


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