News Feature

Scintillating amalgamation of batik motifs with global icons

Scintillating amalgamation of batik motifs with global icons

Sekawan Kembang Boket Batik (left) and Angsa Kahuripan Batik (right) from Garuda Kencana Batik. (ANTARA/HO/Garuda Kencana Batik)

Indonesia celebrates National Batik Day every October 2 after the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized it as a masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of humanity.

According to the Great Dictionary of the Indonesian Language (KBBI), batik refers to a pictorial piece of fabric specially made by striking hot liquid wax, locally known as malam, on it after which it is then processed in certain ways.

In general, there are some five thousand batik motifs across the country. Some of the popular ones are parang kusumo, mega mendung, sidomukti, and lasem that have unique and enchanting colors.

Although each of the batik motifs strongly relate to a noble philosophy, some of the world icons can be applied in the motifs, akin to what Garuda Kencana Batik has made.

Through a program titled “Batik for the World,” Garuda Kencana Batik along with Singapore-based magazine, Tatler, attempted to explore the beauty of blending Indonesian batik motifs with world icons from Europe to Africa.

Founder of brand Garuda Kencana Batik Yos Christian Addyputra remarked that the program aims at making batik better known in the world through the diplomats of other countries.

“I have collaborated with 17 ambassadors of the countries. Each of them wears the batik that we have designed with the cultural icons and cultures of their countries. I am inspired to make the batik for the world, not only the batik with Indonesian motifs that is generally given to them,” Christian highlighted in a press statement issued here on Saturday.

The following are the beauty of batik motifs blended with popular world icons.

Batik Sekawan Kembang Boket

By incorporating the icons of the Great Britain into the Indonesian batik motifs, Christian, through Garuda Kencana Batik, painted four national flowers of the countries of the Great Britain: Scotland, England, Wales, and North Ireland.

“I incorporated the daffodil from Wales and other national flowers, also the robin bird. The motifs were combined to mirror the unity of the Great Britain that I combined with the stripe pattern called lurik,” he expounded

Batik Angsa Kahuripan

For the Ambassador of Finland to Indonesia, Christian designed the batik motifs resembling the whooper swan, the national animal of Finland. In Finnish mythology, the whooper swan is described as having a connection with the life of the next world.

For a further hint of mystery and charm, Christian also added a touch of the Nordic tree of life motif, called Yggdrasil, combined with Cirebon’s popular cloud motif: megamendung.  

Batik Semenan Venus Valdivia from Garuda Kencana Batik (HO/Garuda Kencana Batik)

Semenan Venus Valdivia

Meanwhile, for the Ambassador of Ecuador to Indonesia, Garuda Kencana Batik made the batik cloth by incorporating the truntum motif as a sincere, unconditional, eternal, and fertile symbol of love combined with the Ecuadorian cultural icon: a woman statue of Venus of Valdivia.

In Ecuador, the statue is a symbol of fertility that is deemed matching and completing the truntum motif that has similar meaning.

Batik Gurdo Petra Kembangan from Garuda Kencana Batik (HO/Garuda Kencana Batik)

Petra Kembangan

The splendor of the Petra historical site in Jordan can be blended with the Garuda-shaped batik motif. Petra, which means stone in Greece, is a historical site built by the Nabatea Kingdom in the heart of Mount Shara at around 9-40 BC.

To make it more appealing, Christian struck the black iris as the Jordan national flower.

Totem Mega Mendung Batik from Garuda Kencana Batik (HO/Garuda Kencana Batik)

Batik Totem Mega Mendung

On one occasion, Garuda Kencana Batik presented a piece of batik with the motif representing a combination of Indonesian and Canadian cultures that the Ambassador of Canada to Indonesia, Cameron Mackay, wore.

In his design, Christian used the totem pole motif of the Canadian indigenous people, with maple, a symbol of Canada, as its background. To add an Indonesian touch, he also painted one of Indonesia's most popular batik motifs, megamendung.

Batik Banji Taeguk

For the Ambassador of South Korea to Indonesia, Garuda Kencana Batik combined the Garuda motif with the assimilation of cultures of Indonesia and East countries: banji swastika.

The designer expounded that banji swastika holds greater religious significance in South Korea than a motif itself. Apart from swastika, the batik is also given the touch of Korean national animals, such as tiger, arowana fish, and Korean eagle, with the ancient Korean painting style.

Banji Taeguk Batik from Garuda Kencana Batik (HO/Garuda Kencana Batik)

Batik Tameng Sawunggaling

As one of the African countries, Mozambique is popular with its national flag colors—red, yellow, green, and black—which became the basic colors of batik collaboration between Indonesia and Mozambique.

Moreover, Christian added a combination of motifs of the African tribal shields and the rooster-shaped motif of batik sawunggaling.

Batik Liman Siaman

Thailand is well-known as a country of “White Elephant”. The symbol became the main motif of the collaboration between Indonesian and Thai batik.

The designer painted the broken machete and then mixed and matched it with the Thai iconic motif: white elephant.

Liman Siaman Batik (left) dan Tameng Sawunggaling Batik (right) from Garuda Kencana Batik (HO/Garuda Kencana Batik)
Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi had earlier noted that batik is a symbol of Indonesia's soft power diplomacy that has become more resilient and recognized by the world.

To this end, the Foreign Affairs Ministry will continue to present batik as Indonesia's identity at every opportunity it gets on the international stage, she remarked at the 2021 National Batik Day event, organized virtually on Saturday.

"This demonstrates the world's recognition of the richness of Indonesia's culture and the nation's commitment to protect batik," she noted.

Marsudi pointed out that in May 2019, for the first time at the UN Security Council, the UN Secretary General António Guterres and almost all of the Security Council members wore Indonesian batik.

Recently, Papuan batik made its appearance at the "New York Fashion Week" and was showcased for a month in the All Russian Decorative Art museum located at the heart of Moscow, she remarked.

"We all have the responsibility to become Indonesia's batik ambassadors, including, of course, Indonesian diplomats," she noted.

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