Making Batik for the Nation, Jokowi: We must develop creativity of our batik art archipelago

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President Joko Widodo along with First Lady Iriana attends the commemoration of the 2019 National Batik Day at Pura Mangkunegaraan Solo, Central Java, Wednesday (2/10/2019). (photo: SESKAB)

IO, Solo – The highlight of National Batik Day commemorations was held at the Mangkunegaran Palace in Solo, Wednesday (2/10). President Joko Widodo was present along with the First Lady Iriana, Mufidah Jusuf Kalla and a number of Working Cabinet Ministers. Among them were Minister of Industry Airlangga Hartarto, Minister of State Secretary Pratikno, the King of KGPAA Mangkunegara and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo. 

Before the event began, Jokowi, First Lady and Mufidah Kalla wore batik together in front of the palace pavilion. There were some 500 batik makers consisting of professionals, artisans, students, college students and other communities involved in these activities. 

After making batik together, Jokowi and his entourage entered the Hall of Mangkunegaran Palace to attend a series of events. Commemoration of National Batik Day this time took the theme of “Making Batik for the Nation”. 

The Chairman of National Batik Day Committee Diana Santosa announced Jokowi and 500 invitees were making batik in unison, as a symbol of the birth of batik. Along with the Indonesian Batik Foundation, the President also launched an Indonesian Batik Book in the form of pocket books and e-books. 

President Joko Widodo is reportedly committed to safeguarding batik culture to maintain UNESCO recognition. Since that UN cultural institution is evaluating the determination of batik as an intangible world cultural heritage. “It must be remembered that UNESCO began to reevaluate its recognition. We must thus show our hard work in preserving batik,” said Jokowi. 

According to him, the preservation of batik is the responsibility of all parties, not only batik artisans and the government, but people in general are also obliged to participate in preserving batik. 

“We all must carry out the mandate as well as possible by continuing to preserve culture and develop the creativity of a batik art archipelago,” he said. 

“This needs support from all parties, to maintain the determination of UNESCO,” the President continued. 

However, Jokowi is quite proud of the growing batik industry, not only domestically, but also internationally. “Alhamdulillah, the growth of batik artisans are growing rapidly in all regions of the country. The more commonly it is worn by people, appearing in various world-class fashion stages, it will provide benefits for our society,” said Jokowi. 

Meanwhile, Governor of Central Java Ganjar Pranowo said that batik is a longstanding original cultural aspect of Indonesia. But on its way, the existence of original Indonesian batik has experienced ups and downs, especially when there was an onslaught of technology that mass-produced batik on machines. 

“What I am referring to is the beginning of the batik process. There are up and down developments. There are those that are falling off, but there are those who also survive. Batik with technology is a mixed blessing. And finally, UNESCO recognized this as an Indonesian heritage. Currently there are approximately 2.500 batik motifs in Indonesia,” he said. 

Indonesian batik was set by UNESCO, in Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates, on 29 September 2009, as an “intangible cultural heritage”. To preserve the UNESCO recognition, real action is needed to fulfill the assessment component, namely preservation, education, and inspiration to the community for the assets owned. 

Therefore, the Indonesian Batik Foundation assists the government in maintaining this recognition by carrying out a series of events held in addition to mass batik activities, as well as batik talk show events, fashion shows, culinary, and public batik markets. 

In the Indonesian Batik History, it is written that the history of batik in Indonesia began during the Majapahit era. Its development then continued during the kingdom of Mataram, then the kingdom of Solo and Yogyakarta. However, in the past batik craft was only for the nobility or priyayi, not for ordinary people. Evidence that Majapahit kingdom first applied batik in Indonesia was found in the remnants of batik that existed in Mojokerto and Bonorowo (now Tulungagung) regions, the former territory of the Majapahit kingdom. (des)