Photo courtesy: Donna Backues (Thumblr)
Preserving cultural heritage among future generations of immigrants in this multicultural country can be very challenging. Cultural heritage provides a connection between the descendants and their parents’ or grandparents’ homeland. One of the unique aspects of the Indonesian cultural heritage is Batik. What is Batik? It is originated from the Javanese word ‘tik‘ which means ‘to make a dot’. Batik is a method of creating patterns and designs on fabrics using a manual wax dying resistance technique. The complicated patterns and designs cause the creation of Batik fabrics to take longer. This technique of dye resisting decoration on fabric may be found in other countries but the level of intricacy of the Javanese Batik technique makes Indonesian Batik very fascinating. In October 2009, UNESCO designated Indonesian batik as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. To mark this award, October 2nd became the Batik Day in Indonesia.
Realizing the importance of preserving cultural heritage, Donna Backues, IDN Philadelphia, and Dompet Dhuafa USA are working together to offer Batik Workshops to Indonesian American children in South Philadelphia. This project will be funded by the Leeway Foundation. During her meeting in the House of Learning of Dompet Dhuafa USA, Ms. Backues commented, “It may sound funny that these Indonesian American kids will learn Batik from a non native Indonesian.” Agreeing to her statement, Mojopahit from Dompet Dhuafa USA responded, “It is true as the common story is the foreigners will learn from Indonesians in the Kampung Batik in Java, Indonesia. But here in the United States, our kids feel foreign to our own cultural heritage and do not realize how rich Indonesian cultural heritage is”.
Ms. Backues, with a Master’s degree in Fine Art from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, fell in love in this Batik making since a young age. While her husband worked in Indonesia, she used that opportunity to learn Batik from an art professor from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), Hasanuddin. Her quickness in learning and talent brought her to become Prof. Hasanuddin’s teaching assistant in his Batik Workshop for the expats, in Bandung, Indonesia.
The FREE Batik Workshop is scheduled for January 2015. If your children are interested, please contact wecare@DomphetDhuafaUSA.com. Seats are limited, please enroll now. (JP)