Indonesia, Australia Share Common Love for Batik

JAKARTA

Australian and Indonesian batik practitioners and craft experts shared their common love for batik and discussed innovations in batik market development and production techniques in Semarang recently, according to the Australian Embassy here.

Three respected figures from Australia’s textile and craft world were in Semarang to attend the inaugural Semarang International Batik and Craft Festival.

The Australian trio comprised Vice-President World Crafts Council Asia Pacific Kevin Murray, batik specialist Tony Dyer and Associate Professor Liz Williamson, the head of Design Studies at the University of New South Wales.

Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Greg Moriarty said the Australian Embassy Jakarta was pleased to support the group during its four-day visit to Semarang.

“The Semarang International Batik and Craft Festival is a wonderful opportunity for some of Australia’s leading figures in craft and textiles to strengthen their relationships with their Indonesian colleagues,” Moriarty said. “This is also a valuable chance to foster and promote cross-cultural exchange between Indonesia and Australia through a shared interest in batik and textiles,” he said.

The festival attracted participants from across Indonesia and from overseas. Murray said the festival was a chance to welcome Indonesia back into the World Crafts Council.

“Through the World Crafts Council, Indonesia will get opportunities to be part of workshops, conferences and exhibitions organised by the council,” said Murray. “I am really pleased to see so many artists involved at the Semarang International Batik and Craft Festival and the quality of their work. What is most exciting is the power of craft to bring Indonesians and Australians together, despite any language barriers,” he said.

Associate Professor Williamson hoped to assist the Indonesian batik practitioners to expand the market for their products and thereby boost their incomes. “I am hoping to facilitate visits by Australian designers to work with Indonesian artists to show them how to integrate new elements and different skills into their work. And also to raise their awareness of the preferences of other markets overseas, such as the use of easy care fabrics,” Professor Williamson said.

She said that he also thinks people would be very interested to know the meanings of the different motifs. “I think people would like to look it up on a website about batik motifs,” she said.

“There are some really exciting batiks here in Semarang, reflecting traditional designs that have been adapted and have a contemporary feel. Personally, I really love the traditional designs,” Dyer said.

“At the festival, there is a warm link between the batik practitioners: a feeling of mutual support and understanding based on our love of batik that goes beyond language,” Dyer said.

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