“Please visit the stand of Indonesian Batik and try to make your own Batik. Experience the beauty of Indonesian Batik Art!” These promotional words were not expressed by the personnel of the Indonesian stand but were spoken by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Bahamas, H.E. Brent Symonette in his speech at the opening of the 14th International Cultural Festival in Nassau, the Bahamas.
This most popular international annual cultural festival of the Bahamas which was held on October 17th and 18th 2009 in Nassau, and was visited by more than 30,000 persons, was organized by a committee headed by the Foreign Minister of the Bahamas. Except for inviting the visitors to see the Indonesian stand, the Foreign Minister of the Bahamas, in his speech also expressed the sympathy of the people of the Bahamas in view of the natural disaster that had occurred in Indonesia.
At the International Cultural Festival, at which the Indonesian Embassy was participating for the first time, Indonesia was granted the award of “the Best in Show” as the best participating country this year, among 25 other participants of South America, the Caribbean area, Asia, North America and Europe.
The Organizing Committee granted the “Best in Show” award to the Indonesian stand not only for presenting the unique art of Batik that is seldom seen by the population of the Bahamas, but also because Indonesia’s participation was considered to encourage visitors to attend the cultural festival.
The “Best in Show” award was handed personally by the Foreign Minister of the Bahamas to the Indonesian Ambassador, H.E. Banua Radja Manik, at the opening ceremony held in the open areas of the festival in the presence of the Minister of Culture of the Bahamas, other Ambassadors to the Bahamas and the members of the Diplomatic Corps as well as approximately three thousand visitors, on the first day of the Festival.
On visiting the Indonesian stand, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Culture of the Bahamas attempted making their own Batik, while following the explanations on the technique and history of Batik in Indonesia.
In addition to the presentation of the art of Batik, holding the workshop and exhibiting different Batik textiles, the Indonesian Embassy, with the support of the Directorate of America and Europe of the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, also presented Indonesian dances, held a fashion show of Batik clothing and set up a stall at which typical Indonesian food was sold.
The Indonesian Embassy in Havana presented the topic of Batik at the International Festival in the Bahamas, not only as an effort at promoting Indonesian culture in view of the designation of this art as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mankind but also to study the potential market for Indonesian textiles in this Caribbean nation. Several businessmen of the Bahamas expressed their wish to purchase Indonesian Batik which they acknowledged as having not only attractive designs and motives, but also in view of its first class quality. It is hoped that the efforts of the Indonesian Embassy in Havana will make Indonesian Batik become more popular in the South American and Caribbean area.