Viewing batik: From a local cultural space or global space?

The typical South East Asian model – Nationalise Batik and claim our rightful ownership for the craft. The Western model – Let’s see what we can do to be masters of this craft. As with any art, diligent investigation is needed to study both models, so as to determine which model works best in an individual setting.  Say a practioner follows the South East Asian model. One of the pros is a piece created deeply rooted in a local culture: the rituals, the clothing, the lifestyle of the people living in that culture and the natural environment of that culture. The cons being producing repetitive works that serve nothing beyond the sole purpose of preserving the craft. In short, creating batik for the sake of doing it. And if the artist opts for the Western model, a piece would probably go beyond the boundaries of local culture, making it susceptible to the ebbs and flows of pop culture or mass-produced commodities, often products of globalisation. The pros would probably be creating innovating pieces and possibilites of cross-cultural exchanges between other artists from different localities. While the debate over which model reigns over the other will go on, more often practitioners miss a middle model, which is momentary space in which they create when inspiration calls regardless of where they are. As a batik practitioner, which model suits you best?


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23 thoughts on “Viewing batik: From a local cultural space or global space?

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  • October 26, 2010 at 3:16 pm

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  • August 22, 2010 at 5:49 am

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  • August 1, 2010 at 3:56 am

    Wow, wonderful blog post! I even have shown this to my friends!

  • July 30, 2010 at 12:34 am

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    Keep up the good work!

  • July 29, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Thanks for your post and that wonderful blog you are running!

  • July 24, 2010 at 4:33 am

    i love mybatik… a very good magazine to let me know more about Malaysian batik art

  • July 23, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Very proud of myBatik magazine. thank you for all your information.

  • July 22, 2010 at 4:31 am

    I from Garden International School, my teacher asked me to do Batik research. I got everything here.. Thank you to Emilia and her team.

  • July 19, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Thanks so much for such a great blog, that was a nice reading!

  • March 30, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    awesome post – i’m creating many batik, hope to share with you…

  • January 31, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    i found myBatik magazine offers a fresh perspective in this multicultural market.
    It has been an excellent resource to reach our listeners. Its unique urban
    edge lets us advertise to our diverse audience.

  • December 24, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    i’m currently resided in Pamekasan, one of less-known batik town in Indonesia. As batik Madura has always quite ‘rare’ thanks to their lack of industrial-scale batik maker, it also because of geographical boundaries. But even this condition couldn’t stop changes happened in pamekasan’s batik industry and its interpretation of what modern and attractive.
    First known outside with the exclusive and rather expensive “Batik Kristal” depicting pond of multi-coloured flows with challenging technique, artisan and batik entrepreneurs has push design and imagination boundaries toward contemporary interpretation of old tradition.
    No longer tightly bound to the past, new Contemporary Batik Madura has colors and pattern flows free directly to allure younger generation and attract new interest in batik, especially ones seek connection to this tradition but avoid the ‘old’ stereotype usually related with using batik as one’s outfit. One can find ‘Karjagad’ in almost every colors, new interpretation of ‘kawung’ with modern twist, and even ‘parang’ that hardly recognized from its former stiff-but-elegant rules. And it did succeeded ,attracting new wearer, younger and ‘outsider’ who usually not seen batik as medium of self-expression.
    But some has push too far. While still follow the rules of hand-drawn batik process, the result is too contemporary, too ‘modern’ to be instantly recognized as batik. It’s like some ‘nice’ fabric’ with no history, no ‘philosophy’ within , just ‘light and easy’. It surely served one purpose of attracting younger generation and keeping this small industry afloat. But with pushing it too far, is it worth the gain?
    (maybe this is one way to survive into another century, but i’m certainly attracted with contemporary as long as we can trace down to the original concept and technique).

    Wahyu Subiyantoro

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