October 19, 2014

MUD at Domain Oogenlust

 Bogolan by Boubacar Doumbia and huge photo by Serge Hagemeie at MUD

Yesterday I went to the opening day of MUD, a program during the Dutch Design Week, which is about fashion, architecture & design from and inspired by Mali full of Bogolan and wax prints.
The wide ranged MUD program with workshops, masterclasses and fashion-shows is not only to show the beauty and interesting things being created in Mali, it is also to collected money to build a Crafts & Design school in Mali.* So enjoying creativity while supporting it!

MUD is located at Domain Oogenlust, a surprisingly designed location in Eersel, nearby Eindhoven. Stichting Djenné and Oogenlust combined forces to make MUD into a feast for the eyes. Huge photos of models in specially created outfits made with bogolan textiles and hairpieces from organic materials fill the space. At the entrance is a shop full of items made with Julius Holland Wax fabrics and clothing & furniture by Boutique d'Afrique. In the main hall a small exhibition is made by the National Museum of Ethnology (Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde) about "Brabants Bont in Africa", next to architectural designer Cheick Diallo' s furniture. 

Chair by Cheick Diallo

I had the chance to talk with Cheick Diallo about his contribution to MUD.  This year Diallo won the Africa Design Award in Cape Town, South Africa. Diallo studied in Paris, but designs in Mali nowadays. The furniture he shows at MUD, and everything he designed is made in Mali. He is a strong supporter of Stichting Djenné plan to built a Crafts & Design school in Mali. His furniture now is made by people who have not studied for it, but in whom Diallo sees a connection and quality. With the Crafts & Design school he can even help more people to grow and learn, and he will be working as a teacher on the school himself. 

Furniture by Cheick Diallo

Photo by Serge Hagemeie at MUD

Chairs by Salon d' Afrique

Chair by Salon d' Afrique with 'Money Flies' Vlisco

Lampshades by Salon d' Afrique

Bogolans by Boubacar Doumbia

Tonight, Friday and Sunday a fashion-show is held at MUD with fashion made by designers from Mali and the Netherlands made with bogolans & wax prints finished of with hairpieces by Oogenlust. 
I saw the show last night and was amazed by it. The clothing was all of very high quality and I saw so many things I wanted to have (in a little bigger size). The fashion show is made in collaboration with the Ethical Fashion Initiative. The EFI connects the fashion business with artisans in Africa and Haiti, more about that in this video!

Happy designers, Reuben Reul, Netty Anang and Klekleli Dzidzienyo

I loved all the different fashion shows, but for this post I will only share the first part of it. Because I think you should go and see the show for yourself! But also because these fashion items are all made with Bogolan. 
Stichting Djenné invited different designers to contribute by designing something new using Bogolan.** The results are very nice, modern, chic and I want them all (*smile*blink*).
Bogolan is a handmade Malian cotton fabric traditionally dyed with fermented mud. The natural, earth colored cloth has a high graphic quality. At Domain Oogenlust you can see some full length cloths and also at the end of the week follow a workshop by Boubacar Doumbia.***
Added the names of designers I know for sure, if you know which design is made by whom, just let me know, thanks!

Enjoy a small part of the must-see fashionshow & make sure to visit MUD!!

Designer By Borre

Designer Daniela Pias

Designer Daisy van Groningen

* More information on the Stichting Djenné site, www.stichtingdjenne.nl
** Bogolan on Wikipedia 
*** Master Classes Bogolan painting by Boubacar Doumbia

October 17, 2014


Members of the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights posing with Beatrix in October 2012

I definitely paid to much attention to her hats, because I almost fel of my chair seeing a smiling Bea in the newspaper wearing a Batik and Chintz patterned outfit. It was not just the outfit that surprised me, also the location. Was it a message? Was Beatrix telling us that at least she is aware of our heritage?
Is it a Batik Statement?
In the discussion going on since this photo was taken, for me it is a comforting thought. Looking for more photos of this outfit, and trying to find out who designed it (if you know, please let me know, thanks), I came across even more Batik and Chintz patterns costumes of our prinses.
But not only that, she expressed being Dutch in so many different ways and even got in trouble for it. We all remember her wearing the beautiful headscarf and who had a problem with it. So a blogpost seemed in order.

Clicking through hundreds of photos of our former Queen Beatrix, I can definitely say that she likes patterns. Her clothing choice started a little plain, which is not weird always being in the spotlights, but you see her daring character sparkle through very soon. I noticed that in my memory Queen B is mostly wearing royal blue, but that is not at all true. What I saw now is that she wears all kinds of colours and isn't afraid of wearing patterns all over. Also red and purples are favorite when it comes to scarfs and hats.

Her visit to Turkey in 2012 was parade of colourful, patterned, beautiful outfits, which made us forget to look at Máxima. One of her outfits there was also with a Batik motif. What a nice surprise! I can't tell from the pictures if it is Batik Tulis and I wonder if it is the same designer. If I find out I'll let you know.

Enjoy my little selection of favorites! And B, keep on sharing those Batik Statements***!

Same outfit, different venue 

Tulip top on a long skirt on Prinsjesdag in 1987

Troonrede in 1985 **

Troonrede in 1988

Troonrede in 2012

Wearing a Batik blouse during a visit to Indonesia in 1995

With Máxima in 2012 in Turkey

In Turkey in 2012

During the Coronation of her son in 2013 with prinses Mabel wearing a beautiful Victor & Rolf dress

The other Batik costume


Beautiful Indian inspired gala dress

* More pictures of prinses Beatrix go to www.gahetna.nl
** More pictures of Beatrix during the Troonrede on www.anp-archief.nl
*** More Batik Statements on De reis naar Batik

October 10, 2014

Decoding the Hands*****

Before we went to bed, I said "What if all patterns come from Africa?". Meaning that if all patterns have a source and if that source can be traced back to one, is it then the same location as where men originated from?
The next morning Koen woke me up with the words "There is a great article in the newspaper today". I went downstairs and read the head of the article.  "Oldest Cave Art found in Indonesia".*
The next hours I spend looking up Rock Art and found some pretty interesting stuff and went to get my own copy of the Nature journal, which turned out to be quite the challenge living in Breda...

We are all familiar with the Graffiti prehistorical style, hand outlines with red ocher on cave walls. Till now it was the common believe that these paintings, the hands and of all kinds of animals  mostly being hunted, were only found in Europe. Or at least that these ones were the oldest and therefor the source. Well that believe is officially turned upside down!

Possibly the oldest figurative depiction in cave art- a female babirusa (a hoglike animal also called a pig-deer)—were found in Leang Timpuseng cave in Sulawesi ****

In the Dutch media they were writing about a painting of a pig. Food is always a strong motivator in (folk)art, but I wonder if the pig-deer, the Babirusa had also a more spiritual meaning. 
This 'horned pig' is mentioned in notes by Alfred Russel Wallace.** He writes about Sulawesi, were this Rock Art is found, after describing the lack of knowledge they have on the botany of 'Celebes': Of its zoology we have much more knowledge, and we find that its animals are, considering its position in the very centre of the archipelago, wonderfully peculiar. Taking first its mammalia, we find that Celebes differs broadly from Borneo and Java in having no tailed monkeys, no insectivora, no feline or canine animals, no elephant, rhinoceros, or tapir. It has only five large, and eleven or twelve small terrestrial quadrupeds; the former are:— 1, A large black tailless baboon or ape; 2, a deer; 3, a remarkable small wild buffalo, resembling an antelope; 4, a wild pig; 5, the babirusa or "horned pig." **

Wallace's 'horned big'

The Babirusa is found also in newer context. In the Balinese Hindu-era Court of Justice pavilion and the "floating pavilion" of Klungkung palace ruins this pig-deer is painted on the ceilings.
But also in the demonic masks used in Wayang Topeng the inspiration is clearly recognizable. The pig-deer was also used as a gift for visitors, fortunately the muse is now protected in Indonesia.***

Hand stencils and a deer on cave walls in Sulawesi

Not only is the Rock Art in the caves on Sulawesi much older, in the South of Africa they already found similar kind of red ocher in a cave dated 70 thousand years old. It was just a fixed obsession that Europe was the origin of creativity. This new data will make it possible to find out more about different cave paintings in Borneo and Australia. 

In the National Geographical August edition of 2005, which I'm also trying to get, was an article by Luc-Henri Fage. Here some very interesting quotes from this article: 
"The paintings inside were as breathtaking as when we'd first seen them in 1999: some 200 stenciled hands, remarkably preserved, along with drawings of animals and humans. About half the hands were covered with dots, lines, chevrons, or other patterns. I counted more than 50 combinations. "They look like tattoos," I said to Chazine." ****
"...High above me in an alcove was a magical piece of art, six hand stencils spread like a bouquet. Each print was delicate, but together they seemed vibrant with energy as if they'd been created only moments ago."
"Handprints are a common motif in prehistoric rock art around the world. But unlike hands discovered at sites in France, Australia, and elsewhere, many in Kalimantan caves are decorated with dots, dashes, and other patterns, the significance of which is yet unknown."
"....I find a remarkable similarity between the act of creating these handprints and traditional healing practices in Borneo. To create the design, a painter would place a hand on the wall, then spray it by mouth with pulverized pigments made of ochre. A traditional healer would do much the same, laying hands on the affected part of a patient's body, then expelling his breath to spray on therapeutic ingredients. Both processes resulted in a kind of magic."
You can read the full article "Hands Across Time: Exploring the Rock Art of Borneo" online, unfortunately without pictures, but they look awesome, I'm sure!*****

To conclude this post, I quote one more thing. The last phrase from De Volkskrant article; "These were people that decorated their surroundings and objects (proof is found that not only the inside of the caves were decorated also the outside)".*

Should get into some spelunking...

* Article "Indonesië heeft oudste grotkunst" in De Volkskrant
** Notes by Alfred Russel Wallace on the Babirusa 
***More about the Pig-deer or Babirusa on Wikipedia
**** Images from article "Cave Paintings in Indonesia Redraw Picture of Earliest Art" on National Geographic 
***** Article in the National Geographic August 2005 by Luc-Henri Fage "Hands Across Time: Exploring the Rock Art of Borneo"
****** THE Nature article "Pleistocene cave art from Sulawesi, Indonesia"

October 7, 2014

Batik Bird

My dear friend and artist Isa Gama shared this wonderful wax print creation with me, when I asked if people would like to fill all Social Media's with Batik Statements.
With Isa's roots in Mozambique, she was already thinking of making some objects with traditional textiles. This bird lamp is the first thing she made and it is totally wonderful! 
Especially because my own little bird is called Batik! Looking forward to the next sculptures & I'll share them here as well of course!

Happy birthday dear Isa!
And thanks for sharing your Batik Statement!

October 3, 2014

Hijab Batik

Happy second Batik Day ;)!
On Facebook the photo of two women in a garden wearing Batik with a cat and fox face appeared in my feed. Gita shared the photo with our mutual friend Krisna Murti. I immediately liked it and asked her if I could share it as a Batik Statement. I also asked her what the story behind the photo was. 

Gita is a contemporary dancer and performed in Krisna Murti's latest video-work. She told me this photo was part of a project she is working on: Hijab Batik. 
She is creating a new dance in which she explore the two words 'Hijab' and 'Batik'. 
The Hijab is becoming more common on Java. It is worn by Muslim women as a symbol of modesty, privacy and morality. It is a way of protection. 
Traditionally of course Batik was clothing of everyday life on Java. With its practical and symbolic use it was and is also a form of protection.

Gita wrote to me: "Hijab Batik are two values, paradox and parallel. In my work I talk about it because I think Indonesian women today need to balance themself by Hijab and Batik. I try to explore the spirit of Hijab and Batik."
The second photo she send me express this thought nicely. It is much less cheerful as the first one, but I think its very strong. I'm looking forward to see how her project develops. In the meantime we can enjoy some of Gita's dances on YouTube on her channel 'gita kinanthi'. I totally fel in love with her performance on the Art Island Festival. Take your time to watch it, it is beautiful!

Terima kasih Gita for sharing your Batik Statements!

October 1, 2014

Batik Gifts

To continue my Bday Batik Statement Batik Day tradition, I made new Batik Statements** for you! This upcoming Batik Day, tomorrow on the 2th of October 2014, is a very special one.
It was 5 years ago that Batik became a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity of Indonesia, in short an UNESCO heritage.*
That same year, 2009, I was preparing my journey to Java to study Batik. To share my preparation and journey I started a blog, this blog, and called it 'De reis naar Batik' ('The journey to Batik"). So on this fifth Batik Day celebration, I'm also celebrating my 5 year anniversary of this blog.
Well it would already be spectacular if that was all, but this is all being celebrated on my 30th birthday. So happy birthday to me, a hurray for my blog and a big celebration for Batik!

For the Batik Gifts Statements I'm wearing Batiks I received as gifts. Thank you!!
On the first two photo's I'm wearing two wonderful things I received as a price from Pretty Batik Boutique. I participated in Kissy's competition for Batik Day last year and she send me a beautiful bolero & shawl. Kissy runs a boutique in New York selling Batik products. Missing her homecountry and wanting to share the joy of Batik, she started importing Batik clothing. Her main focus is on children clothing, she wanted to dress her daughter in Batik and on Kitty's Facebook & Instagram you can see how cute & pretty her daughter looks! Thanks again Kissy!

On the first photo I'm also wearing a Batik wrap-around-pants. Like most Batik gifts I get, Irene Laros contacted me on facebook asking me if I would like to have this pants she bought during her holiday on Java. Of course I did, and I promised her to make a statement with it, so here it is!

In the background of the first two Batik Gifts Statements two beautiful Sari's. When Daniëlle Koks gave them to me I immediately wanted to do something with them, playing with their colours through light. I made all the statements on one day, unfortunately slowly loosing the light, but also getting a total different feel with every picture.

For the other two Batik Statements I choose to make a background, or setting, with Batiks I received with human figures and Wayang dolls on them. On the first one I'm wearing a kaftan from my grandmother and on the second one two Batik blouses from my grandfather. Their love for Indonesia inspired me to make this journey, this journey to Batik! And I hope I can continue it for a long time!

* Batik on Wikipedia 
** Previous Batik Statements can be found on my blog under the label "Batik Statement"
** On the last photo on the left also a beautiful Batik Tulis I received from Kees de Ruiter
*** To celebrate my 5 year anniversary of my blog De reis naar Batik and of Batik Day, I would love to fill all Social Media's with Batik Statements! Please share yours with #batikstatement and with me! I will post all photos I received with #batikstatement on my blog the next couple of days