‘Potensi Batik Dalam Fashion Photography’ Seminar, Universitas Gajah Mada, 2009

Salute to UGM!

Beside the long, lengthy title of the seminar, the event was packed and efficient. And I loved the theme. It was divided into 2 sessions: everything about Batik by Nita Azhar, and photography workshop.

After long days of lack of sleeping, I had to force myself a little bit to stay awake as Nita’s presentation was very important. This beautiful lady represented her brand under her own name, concentrating on ‘batik tulis’, the higher and highest class in Batik making. Apart of that, she’s also a well known fashion designer. I saw her creation was modern and light, combined with fine batik materials, mostly for serious Batik lovers. I wished I had more time to visit her workshop in Jogja.

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Her presentation made me wonder. Have I put enough attention to make our rich culture as part of my values, especially in expanding my creativity? Have I made any use of it? Have I explored it enough? I suddenly felt a chill, as I knew the answers. I related it to my lack of exploring the Monumen Nasional (Monas) in Jakarta, as the contrary to having visited so many national monuments in various countries.

I was then thinking, why made me not that interested in exploring Batik? The answer was simple: Batik does not have an interesting brand personality. It is often related to formality. It sounds old and ancient. It’s not a fun thing. It’s boring. Most of the people wear it to weddings, or government related ceremonies.

It has the same phenomenon as many of old applied-arts: how to blend it to new culture. The government has tried it by launching some campaigns, and made Anissa Pohan, the daughter-in-law of our president SBY, as the icon. I don’t think it’s working though. I think what we need the most is real, continuous supports from the government to brand and market it. How? I have no idea at the moment.

I put high appreciation on what the young fellows from UGM did. By combining Batik and photography in one seminar, the audience would have nice experience with our own heritage, as I felt it myself.

Last but not least, thanks so much to Publicia Photo Club of UGM for inviting me. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

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