The Indonesian Embassy in Washington has launched the American Batik Design Competition, now ongoing from March through November, to promote Indonesian culture in the United States through batik and to further strengthen people contacts between Indonesia and the United States.
“The 21st century will be an era of confluence and fusion between cultures; this is a perfect time for the rich heritage of Indonesian batik to meet American contemporary designs,” stated Ambassador Dino Pati Djalal on the Indonesian embassy website.
The American Batik Design Competition is an open competition intended to draw from among American citizens diverse talents in fabric, graphic art, and fashion design; to put on display new and original designs that allow the American spirit and values to shine through, while still recognizing uniqueness in the Batik motif. The phrase “American Batik” is a term attempting to illustrate and describe such creative designs and fashion ideas that remain influenced by typical Indonesian batik motifs, and are bound to incorporate two criteria: they have to be designed by American designers and they exhibit the American spirit and values, drawing from its history and folklore.
The winner of the competition will receive a two-week Batik tour to Indonesia and have his or her designs exhibited both in the United States and in Indonesia.
“The Spirit of America in the Heritage of Batik” is eloquently chosen as the theme of the competition. This theme is hoped to reflect the articulation of cultural fusion between the United States and Indonesia through batik and to bring American values in the tradition of Indonesian batik. This competition is aimed at strengthening people-to-people contacts between the United States and Indonesia, thus, bringing closer the two countries’ cultural cooperation, said Indonesian Ambassador Dino Pati Djalal.
Judges will consist of batik and textile experts, as well as fashion designers and representatives of fashion industries from Indonesia and the US participants of this competition will be asked to create an “American batik” digital design only. The transformation from digital designs into Batik Tulis (hand-made batik) will be later done by Indonesian batik artists in Indonesia.
Last week, taking place at the Embassy of Indonesia in Washington DC, a Batik Exhibition was held from July 12 to 16, 2011. Carrying the theme, “Indonesian Batik: World Heritage,” it showcased a collection of the rich heritage of Indonesian batiks with its beautiful colors and patterns from many parts of the archipelago.
During the Indonesia Festival in the USA, on July 9, the American, with the Indonesian and international communities in Washington totaling 5,180 persons, together broke the Guinness World Record for the largest Angklung Ensemble ever. Like the Indonesian batik, the typical Indonesian bamboo instrument Angklung has received UNESCO’s recognition as an Intangible World Cultural Heritage.