On the 4th of April 2016, the first Batik workshop for Batik artists in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was officially installed in the Doris MacKei Resource Center in Kingstown, the capital of the St Vincent and the Grenadines.

          This workshop is not only a pilot project for the cooperation in the field of batik between the two sister countries but also marked their first concrete effort. This is the result of a strong collaboration between three Ministries in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines:  Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Commerce and Regional Integration, Ministry of Education, Reconciliation and Ecclesiastical Affairs and the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture and in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia and the Embassy of Indonesia in Caracas.

            The purpose of the abovementioned workshop is to transmit the knowledge of batik making of Indonesia to the local artists of the island, who will later become the trainers that will deliver the guidelines of the batik technique to other artists and designers.

            Under the scheme of "Dispatch Expert on Batik for St. Vincent and the Grenadines", this historical event was officially inaugurated by His Excellency Sir Louis Straker, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade, Commerce and Regional Integration expressed his joy and grateful for the arrangement of this workshop as the outcome of a strong cultural cooperation between the two countries. His Excellency underlined that such technical assistance is what his country is seeking. He also addressed a few words to the participants, remarking that they are going to become trainers in the rural areas, where they will teach the people to acquire these skills.

Chief Education Officer from the Ministry of Education, Reconciliation and Ecclesiastical Affairs, Ms. Lou Anne Gilchrist mentioned that this activity is a way of maintaining the continuous education on batik knowledge because they will learn the skills from the Indonesian batik experts and afterwards they will pass it on the knowledge to the other communities.

Representing the Government of Indonesia, Deputy Director of Technical Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Nunung Nurwulan underlined the importance of the workshop as it will strengthen the bilateral relationship of the two countries. The batik workshop is part of the symbol of the solid cooperation between Indonesia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It is also part of the commitment of the Government of Indonesia in giving capacity building programs under the framework of South-South and Triangular Cooperation. In this sense, the purpose of the workshop is to give assistance and support in developing the quality human resources that later will boost the economy. She also expressed her gratitude to the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for welcoming the Batik experts, Mr Suharyanto and  Mr Gamal and to the participants for their love of Batik.    

            For Jeremy Payne, one of the participants and a local fashion designer, this event brings a world of opportunities to local artists, in his own words: "I am very excited and happy to be at this workshop, because we don't have many events like this in the island. I look forward to turn the theory of Batik into practice and start creating fabrics".  On the other hand, for Rose Simmons, local painter and also participant of this workshop, this event is a great opportunity to learn techniques to develop her artistic skills in her working field: "I think we can all benefit very much from this. As I feel passion for painting, I really look forward to learn from the experts". 

The batik workshop will be delivered to 25 five local batik handicraft artists, from Monday 4 of April to Saturday 9 of April 2016 and will cover extensively all the aspects of this millenary art. (PF Pensosbud).