The past 12 months have been a nerve-wrecking period for Josephine ‘Obin’ Komara, founder and owner of upscale batik-inspired cloth producer Bin House.
During that period, the renowned cloth-maker experienced two devastating losses, which transformed her from a witty, outspoken woman into a stoic, reflective lady.
In mid-December 2012, she lost her mother, a woman, who according to Obin, had taught her everything she needed to survive in the world and the importance of being a caring mother for others as a way to help people.
Obin’s penchant for feeding, literally and metaphorically, her growing circle of friends and her impulsive emphatic drive, which saw her embarking on massive relief campaigns to disaster-devastated regions at the drop of a hat, were inherited from her mother.
Barely one month later, Obin lost Roni Siswandi, a man of many things for her ‘ lover, husband, buddy and muse. A noted anthropologist, who treated batik both as a precious cultural heritage and a promising economic commodity, Roni Siswandi was the man behind Bin House’s rise to global prominance.
Obin was so heartbroken when Roni passed away that she decided to shelve an ongoing project of building a cloth museum on a 400 square-meter space on the third floor of Beachwalk, a hip mall in Kuta, Bali.
‘It was Roni’s idea to build a museum for me. And I was so engulfed by grief that I could not think of continuing the project.
Their son and Bin House’s heir, Erlangga ‘Elang’ Komara stepped in and took over the project. Assisted by Roni’s older brother, Yusman Siswandi, Elang supervised the continuation of the project. The museum was opened late last month in a syncretic Javanese-Chinese ritual ‘ an apt tribute to the origin of batik ‘ during which Obin, with tears in her eyes, referred to the museum as ‘Roni’s dream and Elang’s accomplishment’.