October 7, 2022

Kembali ke Jakarta*

* Return to Jakarta

Pak Hartono sharing Batik with Little Red Riding Hood motif during his talkshow

Feeling Motomami on my birthday & Hari Batik in the mall
Wearing Batik top by aNERDstore

Jakarta skyline from the car

At the moment I am traveling to Pekalongan by train. Sooo time for an update. My first week on Java in Jakarta has rushed by. Jakarta is never my favourite place to be, but it was wonderful to meet and hang out with my dear Batik friends.
I celebrated Hari Batik & my birthday, next to the start of my project here in collaboration with Erasmushuis in Jakarta. I am so excited, and nervous, to finally share. I am making an exhibition next year, October 2023, all about Batik with the title ‘Future of Batik ~ Masa depan Batik’. A couple of years in the making. Now finally on Java to start the preparations. For this exhibition I will share my journey to Batik from different angles, including work by pembatiks I have been following these past 13 years!

Pak Hartono in front of Batik signed by Toorop, pointing out 'Dutch influence'

Repro Batik by Pak Hartono

Showing off the Repro Batiks

One of many cupboards filled with beautiful things

So my first week in Jakarta was filled with meetings to discuss my plans, program options & more. I am not doing, or maybe only a few, public events, since I want to focus on all we can do together next year. 
The start of my stay in Jakarta begin with an invite to a talkshow by Pak Hartono, Batik & Art collector who I often share ideas with through WA. The event was pretty fancy gathering of ladies from a Wastra club. Felt misplaced, but Ibu Hartono insured me that Pak Hartono was very happy I came although he was so busy with these ladies. Several batiks were being showed from Pak Hartono’s collection while Pak Hartono explained the development of the style of Batik on the North coast of Java. He showed a Batik with Little Red Rinding Hood, a Batik signed by Toorop & van Zuylen. After his talk the ladies got to ask question. It was an interesting moment since one asked about Tiga Negeri and if this really was made in several locations ~ because Mas Benny Gratha states in his book on ‘Tiga Negeri’ it was only made in Solo. Pak Hartono said he had proof that it was made in several locations, send be me! Wait what? All the ladies were all looking at me. Hartono continued; Sabine is a researcher from the Netherlands. She send me information about ‘blanco’, the batiks with only a motif in red produced in Lasem and Pekalongan. 
Well after this everyone wanted to chat with me. 
After the Q&A reproduction Pak Hartono makes from his collection were being catwalked by ladies. The repro’s are very finely made Batik Tulis, on only one side of the cloth, the design is based on the original batiks but the colours are very different. 
After all this we got invited to see the ceramic room/house. An incredible space filled with old cupboards filled with ceramics, glassware and more. The room was decorated with beautiful paintings and vases, big ones on the ground, and smaller ones on small tables. The ladies were posing in every corner, making it a funny experience trying to not get in their shots while carefully not knocking over anything. 
While the ladies got lunch in the courtyard, I was invited inside. During lunch I got share some of recent research which was received with shock, especially the name ‘Batik Belanda’ and that it is actually a term for imitations from the Netherlands. 
I will revisit, so I can share more of my findings with Pak Hartono in person, so looking forward to return to Jakarta later this month. 
Before I left Pak Hartono told me he had something for me, he found it just a month ago. A Batik from the 60/70’s with Gelatik motif. I told him before how much I loved these motifs in his book. In his book ‘Batik Betawi’ are several stunning colourful batiks filled with my favourite bird. He asked me why I like this bird and I had shared a video of my ricebird. I explained I named my ricebird Batik, it was before I was busy with Batik and our little feathered friend always started singing when I was discussing or talking about Batik, the textile, with someone. 
Monday the package with the batik arrived at my hotel. Such a kind gift! Such a sweet surprise!

Detail of the Batik Gelatik form the 60/70's

On Sunday it was Hari Batik which I celebrated with my Batik mentor Pak William Kwan. Because the Museum Tekstil opening is postponed to 12 October, we went to two malls. First the Batik Bazaar organized by Yayasan Batik Indonesia. We first eat and discussed our Batik activities. 
After this mall we headed to the new and approved Sarinah. Curious what the fuzz was about, I wanted to check it out. The mall looks gorgeous, so do the batiks, but what prices! Considering how little the makers are being paid, it makes me sad. The fashion was mostly made from all kind of prints, why I wondered? The very expensive haute-couture corner only had outfits with imitation on it! So there is room for improvement to say the least… 

Biggest canting I have ever seen at mall Sarinah

Hello Museum Tekstil, good to see you!

In the library of Museum Tekstil 
with a copy of Veldhuisen 'Batik Belanda' in Bahasa Indonesia

Monday I had a meeting at Museum Tekstil with Mas Ardi. Mas Ardi was my translator during my talk in October 2019, launching my research project. We met recently in Utrecht (NL) when he was part of the exchange program for the Rijksmuseum exhibition ‘Revolusi’. 
I was happy we got to meet now again and share ideas and make plans, for during my stay now and for next year. Was so nice to return to the museum. Last time it was my first stop & start. We met in the library. I didn’t have the chance to see it last time and was curious since recent donations were added. Their collection is really good. It includes many Batik books, old and new, in English and Bahasa Indonesia. You can visit the library during openings-hours and there is a nice place to sit and read. So ayo, go check out this perpustakaan!
I will meet Mas Ardi again at the end of the month to make more plans and hopefully go on a Batik adventure!

Broken winged angel at Taman Prasasti Museum

Beheaded angel at Taman Prasasti Museum

Broken headstones at Taman Prasasti Museum

On Tuesday I met Pak William again at Taman Prasasti Museum, the old Tanah Abang graveyard. I arrived a little earlier and went looking for the names I had written down. On the website of IGV there is an index of the graves with clear info in the location with photos, https://igv.nl/databronnen/tanah-abang-index/ 
I looked up some names I thought might be there, yet run into names I didn’t expected to be there. 
The old graveyard has been cleaned up and re-arranged as a park. Stacks of broken tombstones show that many more were laying here to rest, but only a few are still ‘on display’. As always, it was nice to “run into” some familiar names. The place is very interesting, never saw so many broken winged angels, or beheaded angels... It kinda add the right symbolic feel to the place. Got attacked by huge red ants and followed by several cats while trying to make photos, totally worth it, and the cats pointed out some good names.

Cat on tombstone

Pak William pointing out a Batik motif

The library of the Erasmushuis in Jakarta

Wednesday I had my meeting with director Yolande and project manager Anna at Erasmushuis. It was great to see the space(s). I was here last in 2016 and hadn’t seen it after renovations. In new exhibition is in the making and it was so nice to think how I will fill this space. The library is so stunning. I am happy we are going to add a must needed Batik section to it and we are going to start with it as soon as possible. I am so excited and so honoured I can make a Batik exhibition, my Batik exhibition here. 

After my meeting, I headed to Esmod, the fashion school, to meet Ibu Liesna. We met during the pandemic online, I was a guest in her IG live and we are always liking each others posts. 
It was so nice to finally meet in person, like we just had coffee the day before. 
Ibu Liesna was giving her batik lesson to the fashion students. They can choose different crafts to explore and Batik is one of them. It was only their second try at Batik. It was fun to be in this class and chat with Liesna’s students. One student shared her parents back home in Kalimantan actually have a batikworkshop! Another asked my thoughts on Batik Malaysia and I got to tell about what I learned about my very recent visit to Terengganu.
At the end of the class Ibu Liesna asked me to change into a kebaya, belt and batik. She styled it for me before we took pictures. The kebaya & belt were of her own design, her brand Galeri Liesna, the batik from Lasem. After the photos, I asked if I should change before we went to the restaurant. Turned out she wanted to give me the complete outfit! Since I have many nice Batiks from Lasem, I kindly returned that, but very much accepted the kebaya and belt. My first kebaya!  I am so happy with it. Terima kasih banyak Batik sister Liesna!

Ibu Liesna and her fashionstudents in the batik lesson at Esmod Jakarta

Posing with Ibu Liesna and the students showing their batiks 
me wearing Kebaya and belt by Galeri Liesna

My last day, for now, in Jakarta I visited Jennifer, my dear friend and my batik reseller. Normally our contact is through WA, an occasional phone-call and boxes of Batik. I have been working with Jennifer since 2016, when she joined me to Lasem. It is great to have someone who can do the practical part for the pembatiks, the shipment to me, who is like me invested in making sure we can enjoy batik for many more generations to come.
We talked shop; restocked for Guave, discuss how to improve and continue the one-coloured batiks and slendangs, since we will be reordering, restocked for myself, many beauties coming with me end of November. And brought two Malaysian batiks with me to be turned into clothing, while adding another one one the spot by Ibu Ramini to be made into a dress also. Jippie! Cannot wait to do a fitting when I am back!

So I am in the train to Pekalongan. Very happy to return there after 3 years.
Till next update!

Photo by Pak William at Taman Prasasti Museum


Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog to read all your journeys. Thank you for sharing it with us and looking forward to your next stories­čî║

Sabine Bolk said...

Thank you so much, warm wishes Sabine