April 20, 2020

11 tahun perjalanan ke Batik

= 11 years the journey to Batik

A month ago, just when the Netherlands started with their 'intelligent lockdown', I published a new blogpost. I wished people who had the opportunity and privilege to stay at home with free time, would use this time to read, learn and explore. My blog has never been visited as much as this last month! Old blogposts have been viewed and I feel very glad my 11 years of blogging is providing much to explore now! So thank you for following & re-reading my journey to Batik!
If you are a new reader, welcome, and if you are returning, thank you!
Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts, ideas and questions on this post or my blog in general.

I planned to do more blogging, but I spend my time mostly making other online content and written articles for other platforms. However it seems online is the new world, so I will definitely make new posts for here.
Although we live now in a world that is changing and seems scary at times, I think sticking with tradition and keeping, or re-inventing habits, will help getting through this time. So also now I want to celebrate my blog's birthday. Can you believe I am blogging for 11 years!
Last year I was so lucky I got to celebrate my 10th year of The journey to Batik so big! I made exhibitions, events, gave lectures, workshops...I shared Batik in 2019 in the Netherlands, on Java and online the whole year through. I had many plans for this year, but I was also thinking on the online presence of Batik and how to share my journey and current research in a accessible way. This is not so much a matter of making time, but also of having budget. Of course budget will not be easy in this time, but luckily I already have multiple other online platforms which allow me to share & connect. My blog, Social Media, YouTube and online platforms like Modemuze are and already were my ways of sharing my thoughts, stories, new discoveries and questions. So I will explore this further for the time being.

For this post, I will be sticking with tradition. "To have connection, you have to do things for a long time", freely quoted after what professor Marli Huijer said in the TV programme ''Floortje Blijft Hier'. Normally Floortje Dessing makes travel-programs, visiting people living on the edges of the world taking planes, trains, busses, cars, camels, you name it, to get there. "You don't need to travel the world to share stories, you can share stories here, now". I really connect with what was Marli Huijer said. Slowly moving forward, that is the feeling I often have. At times it is frustrating and I have so many failures along the way, but looking back I can really enjoy all the steps I was able to make and can see how far I have come. The last 5 years I have been posting new posts around 21 April to celebrate my blog's birthday. These posts usually included a Batik Statement and big news or new plans.

To see them, click the links below:
in 2019 'Busy with Batik'
in 2018 'Pattern Edition Batik Statement: Pagi-Sore'
in 2017 'Behind the scenes'
in 2016 'The journey to Batik'
in 2015 'Hari Kartini'

Now no big new news, but I will be looking back at a Batik Statement series I created for last Cultuurnacht, Culture Night, in Breda.
I started making Batik Statement already 8 years ago. The first one I made was a Batik-fashion-tribute-to-fashion-bloggers in 2012. Being a blogger, but not at all a fashion blogger, I thought it would be fun to explore this world of pretending-to-be-fashion-while-being-at-home and create looks with Batik. I got a great response to it and kept making and sharing Batik Statements. I also got Batik Statements from others and even did four Batik Statement events. However I never really used it in an Art-type of way.
When Pieter Vastbinder asked me and Koen de Wit for his yearly Spiegelhol event at the BelcrumWatertoren during the Cultuurnacht, I had the idea of exploring the 'colonial mirror', or better my view in that mirror.
Looking for ways of addressing colonial history and how we reflect on this past, I got inspired by 'Bigi Spikri' and the selfie-culture of Indonesia. 'Bigi Spikri' is a Surinamese word which translates into 'Big mirror'. During big festive parades dressed up people would walk the streets of Paramaribo seeing themselves reflected in the shopwindow. These shopwindows functioned as big mirrors to admire yourself in. The 'Bigi Spikri' parade is closely related to 'Keti Koti'. 'Keti Koti' celebrated on 1 of July that marks the date when slavery was abolished in Suriname and the Dutch Antilles in 1863. The parade is a returning part of this remembrance and it is not only a way of admire beauty in diversity, but also to invite others to reflect on this past.
In the BelcrumWatertoren I created a shopwindow in which I displayed books, objects and textiles that I use to learn from and reflect on our colonial past.
Next to that I showed a slide-show of photos I made in the Netherlands and Indonesia showing how we deal with this past. During my last visit to Indonesia in October, I was much more focussed on our shared history and visited more old sites. The cellphone-culture which I already encountered from 2009, is now transformed into a full on selfie-culture. Next to being asked a lot to pose for photos, people pose everywhere. Places for me filled with heavy feelings are now popular for the youth as pretty backdrops for their Insta-shots. Old Dutch places even got fixed up, and re-used. Before these colonial memories were literally falling apart. So an interesting development which allows us to reflect better on this past even if it is through a filter with someone making a peace sign.

To bring this inspiration together and make my 'colonial mirror' even more visible, I made a Batik Statement series. With the great help of Koen de Wit, we made analog dia-slides on 30 December 2019. It was very cold, but with a beautiful blue sky and we found a great spot with water in the background.
I made 5 different looks using clothing and textiles from my own collection. I am especially proud of the iPhone-headpiece we created based on the ear-irons worn in Dutch Traditional wear. It was good for many laughs and the result works so well.
Also very happy with how my koto-skirt turned out using a Vlisco Java Print and a lot of pins. The Java Print has a motif of a big standing mirror. It was designed in 2016 for the Vlisco 'Woven Wisdom' collection. For me immediately it was linked with the reflection we should make with our past, and I sheepishly thought Vlisco refer to that with this collection...However I instantly thought of this fabric for this photoshoot and was happy it was still available.
Without going in much further detail, I just want to share the series here with you. During the Cultuurnacht it was projected in a loop. These are digital scans of the dia-slides. We had multiple of each look and I picked my favourites to share here with you, enjoy!

*All photos made in collaboration with Koen de Wit