Women gathered at Art and culture presentation ‘Denting Canting‘ to discuss about Indonesian luminary, Kartini’s, favourite batik, Indonesia’s heritage. In a combination of music performance, discussion and fashion show, Denting Canting aimed to discuss cultural preservation.
The event opened opened with a musical performance from The Chamber of The Jakarta Philharmonic Orchestra. Denting Canting invited former General Director of Culture Edi Sedyawati, also an artist, writer, and archaeologist to lead the discussion about batik and how we as a community can preserve it. The event was is collaboration with JagaWastra, in Plataran Dharmawangsa, last month.
In addition to being known for her activism for equality and education, Kartini was also keen on preserving batik. She was the first Indonesian to send batik to Den Haag (The Hague), Netherlands through National Women’s Exposition in 1898. She often wore batik as a traditional Javanese skirt.
Sogan Kartini and other rare batik motifs such as Masin, Tegal, and Dutch batik are disappearing from the textile industry, in large part, due to the lack of successors who can succeed artists who design them. Batik Masin, a heritage textile develop in northern coastal area in Central Java, is one such design.
Masin, a small village in Batang Regency is the place of pembatik (batik artists) who produces batik,alongside other renowned batik producers such as Tegal, Pekalongan, Batang, Demak, Kudus, Jepara, Rembang, and Lasem.
Batik artists from Masin are known for their freestyle work which involves applying malam (wax) to fabric without following any sketches. “It seems easy but those batik artists have patterns in their mind and work with their imagination and philosophy. It’s limitless, complicated and rich,” Edi Sedyawati said at Denting Canting.
Sedyawati explained that Masin is the origin First Mataram Kingdom as well as known as Maha Sina (Mahasena) or King Sana. Chinese wanderer Fa Hian who travelled to the country in the 4th century AD according to records.
Mahasin's position in the Fa Hien's annotation was reviewed by experts and it concluded with the present Masin village. Numerous sites from Syailendra period in Masin and Batang rural areas shows it might be once became the center of the great royal interest.
Researchers and cultural activists still don’t know the exact time of Batik Masin existence. "The influence of culture from outside Central Java, long period of history including colonialism, distinctive neighbourhood architecture, migration must affect each other's minds, aesthetics, and the expression of Masin batik artists," she added.
Denting Canting also presented trunk collection from JagaWastra by Neneng Rahardja, ELLA & GLO by Dian Purba, brianstones & dekasia by Dewi Abdy, DeeJay Pearl, by Devi Johana, ROOTS by Ravelra Supit.