The Indonesian embassy in Dhaka held their first ever Indonesian Batik Festival on 21 and 22 November, 2018. The two-day event was held to share the 2000-year-old Javanese tradition of batik craft with the people of Bangladesh, Bangladeshi fashion designers, and to the representatives of other countries who came together to take part in the festival.
The traditional Balinese welcome dance Tari Pendet was performed to start the show, where two highly acclaimed Indonesian artisans, Ai Syarif, fashion designer and creative director of Jakarta Fashion Week, and Benny Adrianto, Batik artist and Batik motif designer, were present as special guests.
The Indonesian Ambassador Rina P. Soemarno gave the opening speech, saying, “I was inspired to organise this festival for a number of reasons. Primarily, to share my culture and heritage with Bangladesh. I want to enlighten everyone here about the aspects of Indonesian batik in our modern society. Batik carries a long heritage of pride and dignity for the Indonesian people, and so, we want to share the adaptability and versatility of our culture with you.”
“I have noticed in Dhaka that people already appreciate handcrafted motifs, so I think that the Indonesian Batik will be well received by the Bangladeshi people.”
On 21 November, there was also a segment of a talk show 'All about Batik of Indonesia,' by the Ambassador Benny Adrianto, and Lilis Setyawati, where they discussed batik's unique evolution in Indonesia. Soemarno said, “Batik started as designer attire for the royal family, and since then, the darker colours of Batik design motifs were worn for formal occasion, something still practiced today.”
The Batik Fashion show was held in two sessions, where designer Ai Syarif presented his Ai Syarif 1965 collection, and Benny Adrianto presented his collection- Java by Benny Adrianto. Both collections featured traditional and fusion wear to showcase the adaptability and versatility of the Indonesian Batik.
Along with the showcase of Batik, the guests were also treated to Indonesian snacks and refreshments, and their famous chicken satay.
The Batik Workshop on 22 November included activities where participants learned the techniques of the Indonesian batik. The participants were able to use the original tools that have been carrying the Indonesian heritage for many centuries.
On both days, there was a Batik Fair, where guests and participants could see, try out, and buy varieties of items, such as clothes for men and women, both ready-made and unstitched, and also accessories like bags and wallets. Designer items by Ai Syarif's 1965 collection were also displayed at the Batik Fair.