Following its inclusion in the Representative List of The Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009, Batik is set to be showcased in the special annual exhibition at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, France. Via a collaboration with three renowned Indonesian designers, the exhibition’s mission is to feature batik to global audiences.

With the support of Bakti Budaya Djarum Foundation, Rumah Kreatif BUMN and Bank Mandiri, the “Batik For The World” Exhibition will be held between 6 -12 June. Photo by Rintang Azhar/NOW!JAKARTA

As part of its commitment to introduce Batik as the national treasure, renowned designer Oscar Lawalata, along with two Indonesian designers, Edward Hutabarat and Denny Wirawan will highlight 100 piece of batik to UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. With the support of Bakti Budaya Djarum Foundation, Rumah Kreatif BUMN and Bank Mandiri, the “Batik For The World” Exhibition will be held between 6 -12 June.

The initiative came from Oscar Lawalata’s vision to provide a broader recognition of Batik on the world stage. The process of curating items for the exhibit have been ongoing for the past two years, and comes at a time when the industry has been developing in its home country.

"In Indonesia, Batik continues to grow, from traditional to contemporary, and with various patterns and innovations. I think the world deserves to know what’s being done with Batik in Indonesia, " Oscar said at a press conference in Galeri Kaya Indonesia, Jakarta.

The exhibition focus on the story of Batik where the visitor have a chance to explore the narrative behind the batik pattern, including meeting with Batik artisans.
Approximately 100 Batik textile will be exhibited at the UNESCO headquarter. 

Conducted by three Indonesian designers who have experience with Batik in their fashion design, the exhibition does not focus on their name. According to Oscar, the exhibition will introduce Batik as a long crafting process, in recognition of Batik artists, known as pembatik in Indonesia.

The exhibition is expected to be the exploration of Batik since it has been in existence for hundred years. Visitors can see the story of Batik which will be classified in 10 exhibition areas, presenting its history, the process, the industry, the Batik artists’ lives, and its relation to fashion. People will also have a chance to see the live batik making as well as meet 30 batik artists.

It has also opened the bridge for craftsmen to expand their market. It is hoped that visitors will come to appreciate the lengthy process of batik making. Many batik designs from various regions will be on display, and will connect the local product and batik houses with international markets.

"We want people know that batik is a luxury product. Indonesia may not have sophisticated and high technology especially for producing fashion items, but we have golden magic hands from those artists which all manifests in Batik. For me as a designer, batik is not the raw material, it should be the star of the design," Oscar said.

Batik in Fashion Design
More than one hundred batik designs with various techniques and history will also be used the the textile archive of the Indonesia Batik Foundation, showcasing the fabric from different era. The story of batik will be highlighted through 24 pieces of clothing from designer’s special collection at UNESCO Conference Hall.

Renowned Indonesian designers Oscar Lawalata, Edward Hutabarat, and Denny Wirawan will showcase their fashion design featuring Batik as a National heritage fabric.

Oscar will feature six types of batik, including batik Kediri, Sidoarjo, Madura, Trenggalek, Ponorogo, and Tuban. The cocktail themed collection is selected as the adaptation of summer which will be perfect for the exhibition period in June. Vibrant colour, detailed embroidery, and beads will be the signature of ready-to-wear collection from Oscar Lawalata Culture series.

Young designer, Denny Wirawan will showcase 8 collections adapted from sacred Batik textile “Sri Wedhari”. The night dress with glamourous accents will be presented in contemporary and modern design. “The design is for today’s women. It is modern and elegant and I designed with an international touch to it,” Wirawan said.

Edward Hutabarat will feature a collection of wedding dresses, inspired by classic renowned Pekalongan and Cirebon patterns. Presented in a fun collection, the wedding dress will be constructed in casual sartorial. Hutabarat  – who has long personal story with traditional textile – wants to place Batik on the global stage.

Rintang Azhar

Rintang Azhar

Rintang is a previous staff writer for NOW! with experience in hard news and lifestyle journalism. He specialises in art, design, culture, fashion, environmental, and urban issues.