Taipei, Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Taipei Sunday to celebrate an Indonesian cultural day in honor of a traditional technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to whole cloth, known as batik.
The Batik and Lurik Festival 2020, organized by the Indonesia Diaspora Network (IDN) in Taiwan, the Cultural Taiwan Foundation, and National Taiwan Museum, was held at the museum’s Namen Park, attracting about 300 people who participated in a series of Indonesian cultural activities.
Indonesian migrant workers, students and immigrants, Taiwanese, and officials from Southeast Asian representative offices attended and were presented with displays of beautifully dyed batiks and luriks, traditional iconic striped fabrics worn for various Javanese ceremonies.
Attendees were even able to make their own batik at a workshop, while the festival also featured performances of traditional dances, including the Topeng and Sekar Pudyastuti.
One of the dancers, Anastasia Melati from Indonesia’s Yogyakarta, said the Sekar Pudyastuti she performed is a court dance usually performed to welcome guests.
The festival also featured a fashion show with about 30 members of Taiwan’s Indonesian community dressed in traditional or traditional fusion attire.
Putri Catur Suryani, a caregiver from New Taipei, took part in the fashion show dressed in a traditional Sundanese top from West Java and a long skirt from Bali.
She also wore a head piece from Sundanese culture that is usually worn by queens, Putri said through a translator.
IDN in Taiwan Executive Director Hanas Soebakti told CNA the event is held to celebrate Batik Day, a celebration observed annually on Oct. 2 to mark the anniversary of when UNESCO included the culture on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.
“It is not just about the artwork, as batik allows us to conduct dialogue with other countries. The batik is our identity,” said the IDN Executive Director, a 27-year-old computer science PHD student at National Central University.
Batik Day is an important celebration in Indonesia as all government ministries celebrate the occasion, said Fajar Nuradi, director of the Indonesian Citizens Protection and Social Cultural Department at the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office in Taipei.
“The uniqueness of batik is not only historical, but also very spiritual,” Fajar said. “Indonesians are very proud to wear it almost every day.”
The traditional skills of batik, already well developed hundreds of years ago in Central Java, are reflected in everyday designs often worn in business and academic settings in Indonesia.
Close to US$17.99 million (NT$521.18 million) worth of exports were recorded by the country’s batik industry in the first six months of 2019, according to Indonesian news agency Antara.
Deputy Culture Minister Hsiao Tsung-huang (蕭宗煌), chairman of the Cultural Taiwan Foundation, said the Batik and Lurik Festival 2020 is important because it allows Taiwanese to further understand Indonesian culture.
“To mutually understand each other’s culture means bridging any gaps between people,” Hsiao said.
It is the fourth time Batik Day has been celebrated at National Taiwan Museum’s Namen Park, with the event held on the Sunday closest to Oct. 2 each year, Hanas said.
Taiwan has a large Indonesian community, including over 267,000 Indonesian migrant workers, according to Ministry of Labor statistics as of the end of August.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel