December 17, 2023

Last acara* in Jakarta

Last program* in Jakarta

Ibu Ramini dyeing a Batik during the Batikworkshop 
on 25 November at Erasmus Huis

Singhasari statues at the National Gallery in Jakarta

Batik research workshop at Museum Batik

On the way home after what I could only call the perfect journey to Batik. It was so wonderful to have next the exhibition, which is in sorts an overview of the passed 14 years, a journey to all (most all) the places I have been in those 14 years together with Koen. The places where my journey begin, all the people, my batik family who I got to work with, learn from, help me so much and now got to spend time with together with Koen finally!

In the Botanic garden in Bogor

Our first full day on Java together, Friday 24 November, after Koen arrived and he saw ‘Masa depan Batik’ at Erasmus Huis, we spend in the Botanical garden in Bogor. Although it was very hot, and still is, you can walk there in the shade of the very old trees. It was funny to hear Koen reaction to the bees here, that are the size of perhaps a hummingbird. I remember reacting like that, only to find out that these flying giants never bother you.
In the evening Ibu Ramini and Tasya arrived from Lasem. The next day, on Saturday 25 November, Ibu Ramini would lead the Batikworkshop. It is so great I got to organise this. A real Batikworkshop given by a real batikmaker, and not anybody, Ibu Ramini of KUB Srikandi. The place that made me fall in love with Batik forever.
I asked Koen to join me at the end of my program, so he could join this workshop. It was so nice to have this extra time to hang out together. Ibu Ramini considered the workweekend as a real holiday, she said she loved how she has to do nothing, no household shores. And she is totally right, it is very luxueus to work in this way, at home I know all too well the struggle of trying to keep the house tidy while juggling multiple projects. But the big difference, me and Koen do it together, while for most women on Java they have to do everything alone. In Ibu Ramini case running a business while also running the household. 

Guidance by Ibu Ramini on how to use the canting

Tasya, Koen and Ibu Ramini

Lorod by Mas Edy

Ibu Ramini shared her knowledge on Batik with us on 25 November. The participants worked with the cantings she brought ~ from Pekalongan ~ while Museum Tekstil proved cantings from Solo. Also we worked with synthetic dyes. A react dye that first appears orange and turns green in the second bath, or first looks just wet and turns grayish blue. When mixing the two a very nice dark blueish green was made. Very different process from the natural Indigo we learned from Elisa of Jikaloka on 4 November
It was exciting in the morning because Ibu Ramini was not yet sure what colours it would give, but they turned out so beautiful. 
The workshop was again given in collaboration with Museum Tekstil with the amazing guidance of Ibu Yeni and Mas Edy. A wonderful collab! I am so happy we got to organise this at Erasmus Huis. 
Special thank you to Miss Tasya for joining Ibu Ramini on her journey to Jakarta & helping so much with the workshop. 
Koen made a great Batik. Ibu Ramini approved of his blocking skills! 
His Batik is a tribute to me: Batik ~ Baik ~ Bolk. How sweet is that!

Batik ~ Baik ~ Bolk by Koen de Wit

The Batikworkshop marked the official last scheduled program, but I had two more workshops to go on Monday.
On Sunday we had a relax morning, having breakfast the four of us, before Ibu Ramini and Tasya pulang {returned home}. Luckily this goodbye was not so heavy, since the sampai jumpa {see you later} was in two weeks.
In the afternoon me & Koen visited Museum Macan. Heard many positive things about this museum and seeing instastories on their recent exhibition ‘Voice Against Reason’ I had to see it.
The museum is located in what looks like a small mall or office building. A few escalators up, you arrive in a typical modern art museum space with a nice view on the city. I think depending on whats on show, makes the visit worthwhile. Good that this exhibition is amazing! It is still on show till 14-4-2024!
The exhibition had a diversity in mediums; sculpture, paintings, tapestries, video work and even a modern wayang of which we got to see the last live performance! The artworks were by new and older modern artists. 

‘Sirkus di Tanah Pengasingan: Oyong-oyong Ayang-ayang’ 
by Jumaadi and the Shadow Factory, 
using papercut & overhead projectors at Museum Macan

Video installation 'Perpetuity' (2023) by Nadiah Bamadhaj 
at Museum Macan

It still amazes me how being an artist here, and being in an Art collective, is so different from the Netherlands. Real collectives are rare, while in Indonesia it seems odd to work alone. Although I feel removed from the art-world in the Netherlands, on Java I feel my work fits really well within the art-world. How I work, together preferable, has always been a given. Here I am never asked What I make specifically as an artist, what I make is not being divided into certain fields. It is just what I make. 
It was therefore especially great to get the freedom to make ‘Masa depan Batik’ as I wanted, including the program, in Jakarta. 

Analog photo by Oxalis of Erasmus Huis of me with my Batik selfportrait

On Monday morning 27 November I got to give my Batik research workshop at Museum Batik. This brand new batik museum was officially opened last Hari Batik, 2 October, and I got to visit it last year already
Some of the people of museum joined my workshop at Erasmus Huis, and it was so great to get asked to give it at the museum. Not just for the Batik Museum, but other museums at Taman Mini Indonesia as well. It was also great that I got to take Koen to this museum. 
The workshop was really great again to do. The participants, especially the new generation, had smart questions, going beyond what I put on paper. So that made me very happy as you can imagine. 
In the previous posts ‘Pasar Batik & Batik Research Workshop at Erasmus Huis’  & ‘For the love of Batik’ I wrote more about this workshop and the reason behind it.
The museum is closed on Mondays but we & the participants got a tour from Mas Swa, the curator of the museum. Going first through the oldest history, the making of batik, we quickly reached the point where the influence in Batik is described. Mas Swa laughed nervously when reaching the display on European influence.
“I feel this is a test” he said before starting the explanation. The text sign still says ‘Batik Belanda’, but he nicely said, “we call this batik with an European influence”, and I asked “And no longer Batik Belanda?” And he said: “yes!”
Yeahh!! I explained shortly to the group why this name ‘Batik Belanda is wrong to use and that it is actual the name for imitation batik from Europe. 
I just want to say thank you again to Museum Batik! I hope we can keep on working & sharing together in the (near) future!

Batik research workshop at Museum Batik

Guided tour though Museum Batik by Mas Swa

The Green Batik Workshop at Erasmus Huis

Right after the workshop at the museum, we had to get in a Grab {taxi} to Erasmus Huis where the next workshop was about to start. 
The Green Batik Workshop: From Tradition To Innovation together with the Water Agency. 
A month before I met Carrina & Octi of The Water Agency together with Ivo of the Dutch embassy. Because of my exhibition, they wanted to see if we could do an event to share the project ‘Pekalongan Green Batik’ and also see if its event can maybe creates a continuation of the project.
The idea quickly arise to do a workshop, or idea sharing session, with people from the field. Not just to water management/improvement field, or the people from Pekalongan they met earlier with, but a wider group that can share about sustainability. Got to invite people from my own network I thought would love to dive in this topic and would be wonderful to have in a room together, not just any room, the library next to my exhibition. 
I was very honoured by who took the efford to join, some all the way from Yogya & Bandung, even Singapore.  Read more here Green batik workshop, a start for change
As for the future of Batik in Pekalongan when it comes to their problems with water, many ideas come on the table, but if the batik bosses in Pekalongan will do anything with it, remains the question. Also batik is not really the industry we should focus on when we talk about the water issues in this city. Read more in this post ‘How a red flood in Pekalongan reveals many issues, but blames Batik‘.
That being said, we do want, no we need to create safe workingspaces for pembatiks. If the water use is the batikworkshops could improve, or other parts could become more sustainable. For example the idea was shared to replacing wood burning for ‘lorod’ {boiling out the wax} with solar heating, a pretty simple solution which would work with that much sun. Yet investment is the main problem, where to get the budget for it if you are in reality just surviving day by day in this craft. 
I am sure there are many more ideas, and solutions out there. We just need people who want, can & will pionier in this field. Who is going to create the first sustainable batik village on Java? 

The Green Batik Workshop at Erasmus Huis

On 28 November both Nidi & Tony were at Erasmus Huis to update “our lab”. Me and Nidi worked on finding the ingredients, first in the text and later in the world. Tony translated the Javanese text in the booklet. We couldn’t find all ingredients for red yet and the brown turned out to be three different recipes, low ~ middle ~ and high Sogan. So we focussed on the brown for now, which Van Musschenbroek confusingly calls “red dyeing with Soga”. 
So in the Natural Dye Lab you will find the first translations, first test with Indigo and now also the ingredients for Soga. 

Tony, Nidi and I updating the Natural Dye Lab at Erasmus Huis

Natural Dye Recipe Project is a collaboration of Indonesian artist Nidi Kusmaya, curator Tony Sugiarta and Dutch artist and researcher Sabine Bolk that started during the pandemic in 2021. At Erasmus Huis we share the project for the first time in the Natural Dye Lab in the exhibition ‘Masa depan Batik.
Through this research-based textile project, Bolk, Kusmaya and Sugiarta aim to trace historical narratives and the connections through material exploration used in batik natural dyes. There is a knowledge gap in the technical execution and historical account of how natural dyes were used in batik in the past versus how they are used today. Due to limited records since the oral history has been lost, we depend on old writings often in Dutch. 
The starting point for this researchproject is therefor one of the oldest published dye recipe books in Dutch, ‘Iets over de inlandsche wijze van katoen-verven op Midden-Java’ (Something on the local way of Cotton dyeing on Central Java) by the Dutch Samuel Corneille Jean Wilhelm van Musschenbroek (1827 - 1883). The booklet was published in 1877 and was translated by Van Musschenbroek from a Javanese text which he doesn’t specify. He was based on Java as a civil servant and had an interest in local traditions. He also commissioned batik motifs drawn in wax on cardboard, so at least he was aware of the technique.
The text by Van Musschenbroek is translated by us to re-create the old recipes and find workable formulas. For Erasmus Huis we focus on three natural colours, namely blue, brown and red.
Before the exhibition opened, we prepared everything for Indigo. Nidi had a very busy program with two other exhibitions, but still created an amazing display with dye samples, materials & measuring tools.
We are planning to continue our project, in collaboration with pembatiks & textile dyers, hopefully next year!

Natural Dye Lab at Erasmus Huis

The last Jakarta activity before we continued our journey to Pekalongan, was a visit to the exhibition ‘Repatriasi: Kembalinya Saksi Bisu Peradaban Nusantara’. The exhibition is in honour of the returned objects from the Netherlands. The entrance was for the Singhasari statues that have been in Netherlands for 204 years. I saw them regularly in Leiden, where they marked the entrance of the Indonesia collection. The statues were mostly ignored, but when the news came they were finally going to go home, many people went to the museum to see them. I also said goodbye, or actually wished them ‘Selamat pulang’ a day or so before they would be packed and send on their journey. 
Seeing them so soon again was wonderful, but I am also sad they are still not really home. Now on display at the National Gallery, later perhaps on display at Museum Nasional, but when will they be on the ground they were actually taken from?
Only of the statues at the entrance you could take photos, or videos. Behind them were projections as if they were opening up a portal to another, previous world.
Inside were the pieces attributed to Diponegoro  and part of the “Lombok treasure” {Are we still calling it that?!? I read it in several articles and yes it was called that for the longest time in the Netherlands, but can we just say “Objects stolen from Lombok” or “Lombok loot? }. 
I might have seen most of these objects before, but here I really saw their beauty, their importance and above all the cruelty of stealing these objects. 
The exhibition was small, didn’t have much info, but it was great nevertheless to get to visit it!

Singhasari statues at the National Gallery in Jakarta

Finished & posted this blog back in the Netherlands. We returned home after a long trip from Lasem to Jakarta, from Jakarta to Amsterdam, to our final destination Utrecht. It is nice traveling back and seeing the places we have been, saying goodbye again. 

December 5, 2023

For the love of Batik

Me and Koen in the exhibition 'Masa depan Batik' at Erasmus Huis

Live on SEA Today Live on 17 November

Haven’t updated much on our travels, it is so wonderful to introduce Mas Koen to everyone. It feels very relax having Koen finally on my side here and he luckily enjoys it very much despits the heat & tummy ache. 

Before Koen’s arrival in Jakarta I still had a full program. Returning from Singapore on 17 November I was a guest at SEA Today, an online newschannel, who interviewed me through Zoom.   I never been on live tv, and was happy to have ‘The Newsroom’ experience through the all so familiar webcam. 

I was delayed and took me some time to reach my room. Luckily I had enough time to figure out how to hang some batiks for my live appearance. I was contacted about a week before if I wanted to join the show and giggled when I saw the announcement “Dutch woman’s love for Indonesian Batik”. Going live my canting earrings were the first thing being noticed, after that my outfit & backdrop. “Wauw you really love Batik!”.  It was wonderful to chat with the hosts Hans, Alia and Kai who clearly have a love for Batik too and know a lot. Thanks Nazila for inviting me! 

> watch the SEA Today Live back here


On Saturday 18 November I gave my ‘paper sarong workshop’ at Erasmus Huis. had in two sessions groups of participants ~ kids and their equality active parents~ to draw together a batik design. 

The idea behind this workshop that you work together in creating a pattern. Usually pembatiks don’t work alone, but in groups. Everyone is first invited to draw a motif on a smaller paper. After the drawing is made, I ask them to combine them on a bigger paper. It is always wonderful to see what is made, also to see what is on kids minds. Next to flowers, ballerina’s, the somehow always popular ‘Kawung’ or Mega Mendung, there were robots, a t-rex and even planes on the way to war. The kids knew precisely how to draw the Palestinian flag.     

The created “paper sarongs” will be displayed at Erasmus Huis until the end of the exhibition ‘Masa depan Batik’, although they haven’t been hung up yet…

Working together to create motifs on a 'paper sarong'

One of the 'paper sarongs' made during the workshop at Erasmus Huis

On Monday 20 November got to give the Batik Research Workshop again. It is my favorite at the moment to do. It is so much fun to see the “ohhh” moments happen during this workshop. 

I have been working with the database of Worldmuseum (Wereldmuseum, former NMvW) for many years now and as a research associate I learned what is and is not online. The information is incomplete at best and filled in with mostly Dutch. So although it is a ‘rich’ collection useful for research, it is difficult to navigate. With the workshop I not only share how to use the database, but also how to search beyond the database. There is, unfortunately, too much trust in the completeness and accurateness of this database. What is written is seen as fact, as being the best researched collection, with the most knowledge to backup these claims. With some simple examples in the workshop, I saw that there is more out there to find, discover, discuss and re-tell. 

I am happy to workshop is received so well and when I get home I will create an online version of it.

For now, enjoy the database tutorial I made >> 

“Dokumentasi atau pelestarian batik tradisional masih dalam tahap awal. (…) Penelitian yang ditujukan untuk menghidupkan kembali atau mendokumentasikan pola-pola batik tua tidak cukup; publikasi oleh masyarakat Indonesia masih langka. Oleh karena itu, baik para pekerja batik maupun pengusaha batik tidak dapat melihat hal-hal istimewa atau mahakarya batik tradisional Indonesia.

Ada banyak kendala. Kini pertanyaan krusialnya adalah: ke mana kita harus pergi setelah ini? Bagaimana kita mengatasi tantangan tersebut? Bisakah tantangan tersebut benar-benar teratasi?”

- Iwan Tirta, 2000

“The documentation or preservation of traditional batik is in its infancy. (…) Not enough research is devoted to reviving or documenting old batik patterns; publications by Indonesians are scarce. Therefore neither batik workers nor batik entrepreneurs can see the highlights or masterpieces of Indonesian traditional batiks.

The obstacles are plenty. Now the crucial questions have become: where do we go from here? How do we overcome those challenges? Can they really be overcome?”

- Iwan Tirta, 2000

On Thursday morning Koen arrived in Jakarta. I went to pick him up at the airport. His first time in Java, in Asia for that matter, the first time flying so far. 

After a short nap in our room, he wanted to see my exhibition right away. Hard to describe to be able to finally share it. He of course was so much part of the process, not only practical; reading all my proposals, texts, listening to my ideas and worries, even helping me make all the text signs when I was already in Jakarta, but also the whole journey (to batik) till this point. 

When we headed outside for lunch, we run into Isabelle Boon. Isabelle had an exhibition ‘I love Banda’ shown in the Netherlands in 2021, which was amazing, and at Erasmus Huis in 2022. I followed the process closely, knowing I had my exhibition to make there too. The first time I met Isabelle was at a program in the Netherlands. We went for lunch together and what she shared was so helpful for my preparations. 

On the 18th, in the weekend I met with Joëlla van Donkersgoed.  She came to my exhibition and we later had dinner together, chatting till late like we already met several times, while it was actually the first time off screen. 

Joëlla and Isabelle were recently on Banda to return the Hikayat Lonthior, a long lost manuscript on the history of the Banda Islands. I admire Joëlla & Isabelle work so much, and it was such a surprise to meet them both. And have them visit my exhibition. Thank you for all your compliments, I know I am terrible at accepting them, it means the world to me!

I also would like to thank all other visitors. Every time I went to Erasmus Huis I would see people looking around, reading, watching the videos, posing for photos and colouring (perhaps the most busy part of my pameran). I saw people dressed in Batik, sitting in the library going through the batik books. Online there are great tiktok videos and instagram posts of my exhibition, I appreciate it so much and I am so happy it being shared like this! Also thank you for those who visited and send me a selfie! I wish I could give everyone a tour!

I am currently on the road with Koen. After visiting Pekalongan, Batang, Kaliwungu and Semarang, we are now on the way to Yogyakarta. 

Isabelle and me in the exhibition

November 18, 2023

Knowledge over ignorance*

Decorations for sale for Deepavali

Pop-up sister exhibition of 'Masa depan batik' at aNERDgallery

Sitting in BatikAir for my return flight to Jakarta after a week+ in Singapore. It was absolutely wonderful to be back in this city and meet up with textile friends.
Tony of aNERDgallery put together a lovely weekend to celebrate Batik & my return. I had a full schedule with talks, museum visits, even a depot visit and catching up on the latest projects happing. I will miss a full Saturday celebrating Kebaya in Singapore > go check out the exhibition ‘Gaya Kebaya, 130 years’. Also catch aNERDgallery with Meet the Makers at the Boutique Fair. But of course looking forward to my own workshop making paper sarongs at Erasmus Huis on this Saturday, 17 November.

Tony of aNERDgallery & aNERDstore welcoming the guests

Pop-up sister exhibition of 'Masa depan batik' at aNERDgallery

Hafiz Rashid always dressed stylish in traditional inspired wear

Research workshop at aNERDgallery

Talking about the future of Batik

I arrived a week ago on Thursday. With the MRT, local public transport, I made my way to aNERDstore. Tony of aNERDgallery just got the keys of the place when I was here in 2022, so it was great to see the transformation. I got to hang several pieces of Batik I brought with me from the same makers featured in my exhibition, so by Ibu Ramini, Mbak Eka, Ibu Siti, Mak Sium and Mbak Nurul. In the front of the store Tony has all kinds of items made with textile from mostly Indonesia; clothing, jewellery, bags, scarfs and uncut kains. In the back he does exhibitions and workshops. 
It was so nice to have this little pop-up sister-exhibition of ‘Masa depan Batik’. On Friday we opened with a session talking about the Future of Batik. Wonderful to share a little bit more on the ideas behind the exhibition, the worries about batik and how it is going with the exhibition. 
In the evening we had the Batik Friends Fridate and the batik friends not only turned up, but also shopped! So happy to see the pieces I brought were liked here so much. So much so that Hafiz Rashid who was preparing his tales for the storytelling event had to change it two times since the items he wanted to talk about got sold. 
On Saturday I did the Batik research workshop. I really enjoying giving this workshop, and glad I get to do it two more times on Java. The idea behind the workshop is to work in a more hands-one way with a database. With questions to answer using the digital database of Wereldmuseum  and provided sources, the participants get an introduction in not only how to use the database, but also on why certain things might not work. Of course this is based on my personal experience using these databases and sources. One participant was saying; “That is why I couldn’t found so much!”. Looking forward turning it in a digital version when I return. Read more on the previous workshop here in my post.
On Saturday evening we had the storytelling session. It was so exciting to work with Hafiz Rashid on this. We had a WA call two weeks before I came to share the optional pieces, and because of as Hafiz would call it ~ a happy problem ~ some of the pieces he selected were already sold. While he had to improvise, it was great and well prepared. His stories are local folktales, fairytales if you will and give an interesting dimension to the batiks. It is not necessarily based on the actual story behind the work, but more a reaction to what he sees. I responded to the stories telling a little bit more about the maker with a personal anekdote. I think my favourite was the one of the little mouse-deer Kancil that was surprisingly dark and gruesome. He told it with the batik of Mak Sium on which she depict ‘Roban forest’ which has a darker, mythical undertone. It fitten really well and it made us chuckle. 
I enjoyed having this as a grownup activity, we sometimes forget importance of storytelling, not just of historical facts, but also in a more fun, relax way using old folktales. 

Photo wall at Peranakan Museum

Fun kebaya at the Peranakan Museum

Full set of Nyonya Ware

On Sunday me and Tony went to the Peranakan Museum. It opened up recently after being closed for a while for renovations. The museum is pretty small, but housed in a nice building. The first floor/entrance is all about “What is an peranakan?”. It tries to show a multicultural display of the different peranakan communities, but of course the museum focus on one, the most well-known one, that of the Peranakan Chinese community. In this part of the exhibition are also many photos from the collection. They are displayed covering the walls and on screens you can get more info, or at least the info from the database. 
The other floors show objects related to Peranakan Chinese culture such as ceramics {nyonya ware}, furniture and jewellery, of course to wear there are items that are beaded, batiked, embroidered & laced. 
To my surprise the room displaying batik was divided into ‘Indo-Dutch batik makers’ ~ ‘Peranakan Chinese batik makers’ ~ Pesisir & Principalities’ {Why not Javanese makers?} and ‘Batik as Furnishings’. An even bigger surprise was finding the term Batik Belanda used to describe the batiks with a European influence.

Batik workshops established and run by Indo-European women were in operation from around the mid-19th century into the first decades of the 20th century (before the Japanese occupation of Singapore).
Popularly called "Batik Belanda", the batiks created by these workshops often depicted motifs inspired by Dutch fashion and craft magazines, as well as Christian symbols and scenes from European fairy tales. Other innovations included the introduction of a lace-like border with scalloped edges.

I gave last year a talk at ACM on this topic and it was before the museum re-opened. 
But there is more. 
How can you explain on a sign that Indo-Europeans make batiks with European motifs while the work of an Indonesian maker, of whom we sadly know nothing, is in the same room, from the exactly the same time With A Snow White batik! The batik with Snow White by batik entrepreneur Soediro is classified as a ‘Tiga Negeri’, what? 
Yes, it was a trend, and yes it was European inspired, but stop this racializing narrative on these makers. We need to really re-tell this history and let go of the way it was introduced by Veldhuisen in his book ‘Batik Belanda’. But for now I am happy with a removal of just Batik Belanda of the text sign ;). It was the populair term for imitations from Europe, never before 1993 for the batiks from Java with a European influence in the motifs.     

Eversince the start of my project together with Dido Michielsen on ‘The meaning of the white kebaya’ I was excited to go to Singapore.
In the Peranakan Museum was of course a lovely display of kebayas. One display showcasing different styles had no less than 4 white kebayas, but only 2 would be identified as “European style”. I had already some short chats during the days before, and looking forward continuing them in more depth. A version was also worn in Singapore, it was used by different groups and when it exactly started is still unclear, but already some useful suggestions were made. It will for sure already bring an, I think, new perspective. But first more work on this. For now just enjoying what I got to see.

White kebayas at the Peranakan Museum

Making Rangoli for the celebrations

After opening shop, in the evening we went to see the Deepavali celebrations.
Diwali (English: Deepavali) is the Hindu festival of lights with its variations also celebrated in other Indian religions. It symbolises the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance".*
aNERDstore is right next to Little India and the decorations were already everywhere, even actual rangoli (temporary floor decorations) every day in front of the stores. 
The Indian Heritage Center was open for free on Sunday. It has a great display of objects and stories related to the Indian community in Singapore. 
I feel in the Netherlands, or Europe for that matter don’t really have these kind of places and after this week in Singapore I really wonder why… We don’t even have room for other holidays to be actual free days. 
I am not saying that Singapore is perfect, there is also here a lot of “othering” and exclusion, but the ways these different cultures seem to be celebrated is refreshing. 
I guess the “knowledge over ignorance” hits at the core.

On Tuesday I was invited to give a talk at the Eurasian Association. Hafiz came with the suggestion to share my research there and it seemed as an interesting place to raise some of the questions I have regarding how we now tell batik history and specifically the history of the European influence. 
They announced my talk as a Kebaya talk, so because it was mostly batik talk, I wore my new kebaya again. 
In the audience we had apart from the Eurasian society members, also some of the nyonya’s in their colourful kebayas & batiks and many dosens, as in guides for museums. They had by far the most questions afterwards, especially since terms like ‘Batik Belanda’ are specifically taught to them to explain in tours. I loved that one asked; “Sabine, what are you debunking next”. I explained, it is not so much on proving something is not true, it is much more finding a layered story. And yes, something things are just wrong, and we can put them right. One talk at a time.

Group photo after my talk

On Wednesday morning got a tour through the Heritage Conservation Centre, the place where 100,000 artefacts are kept from about 7 museums. From paintings to giant metal sculptures, from old wooden furniture to fashion and everything else and more. I always love seeing a new depot, and in this case, restoration and research center. Sufiyanto who is a restorator there, gave us the tour and shared more on their work and future plans. Exciting batik donation has been added and cannot wait to hear more about it! A morning well spend!

In the evening I was invited for the opening of the new exhibition at ACM. I didn’t manage to see the exhibition, it was very busy. But got a sneak peek of an exhibition instead I was otherwise going to miss. So I returned the next afternoon to ACM. Since I only saw ‘Batik Kita’ last time, three times, I decided to begin at the beginning and just do the whole building. 
I am so happy I did that, because besides great objects, I ran into some batiks & other textiles I have to do continue research on. So basically homework… Patola keep following me this trip. Not the real ones, but the European imitations. Which is great, only now to find time to dive into it more. 
Highlight at ACM is for sure the current fashion exhibition, all the way upstairs, ‘Textile masters to the world, the global desire for Indian cloth’ which shows in a pretty small space how divers this worldwide trend was. The shown pieces are just stunning. 
Also a new book was published of an exhibition of 10 years ago ‘Patterns of Trade, Indian textiles for export’. A dream of a book!

I am back in Jakarta, hope to meet & see you here! Thanks Singapore, and thanks Mas Tony, it was wonderful to be busy together. Cannot wait to return!

Spot the mina bird