The ‘American Batik Design Competition’ for Midwest-US society was successfully launched at Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago on May 19, 2011. The launch was organized by the Indonesian Consulate General in Chicago with the support of Mayor’s office of Chicago and Asia Society.
More than 300 guests flooded the historical building, from government officials, community figures, art lovers, academicians, to the art/fashion design students from Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College, International Press Club of Chicago and the local media.
The launch commenced with the Batik exhibition exposing various patterns and designs either traditional pattern or contemporary one created by the famous designers Iwan Tirta and Batik Dua Sisi. In the exhibition section, a small stage was set to show the guests batik making process from a piece of textile through the entire process.
Indonesian handicrafts and souvenirs in Batik patterns were also exposed, such as puppet, bag, handkerchief, and hand fan, including table lamp shades and curtain made by American artist, Jennifer Doheny. While watching the Gamelan music played by Friends of Gamelan (FroG), the guests also enjoyed the Indonesian cuisine, such as fried rice, satay, peanut crackers just to name some. The entire set had made the night a semblance of Indonesia.
Consul General of Indonesia in Chicago, Benny Bahanadewa in his remarks explained the aim of American Batik Design Competition - which is initiated by Indonesian Ambassador in Washington DC, Dr. Dino Pati Djalal – is to familiarize Indonesian Batik even more in the US. The competition is a challenge for designers and art lovers in the US to create a batik design that suits the American taste and style. It is also hoped that through the competition, the appreciation of Batik is improved and to encourage the batik acculturation to enrich multiculturalism in the US.
Director of Commission on Human Relations, Advisory Council on Asian Affairs of Mayor Office, Kripal Zala extend his admiration on the richness of the batik patterns and designs and the philosophy contained in every single piece of it. The city of Chicago supports the competition and encourages the Americans, particularly in Greater Chicago to take part in the competition.
The program was enlivened by a Batik fashion show presented the collection of the Indonesian Consulate in Chicago, Indonesian designers Iwan Tirta and Sylvia Kenny (batik designers for children clothes) and American designer of Chicago, Nadya. Children clothes, national dress, batik draperies, batik clothes from formal to casual were showed by the models and members of the Indonesian community in Chicago. On the top of the programs, a set of Javanese traditional wedding attire were showed to give a glance of images on how batik pervaded in Indonesian culture and daily life. Footage of the batik making produced by UNESCO was also presented along with the ‘Batik Making Dance’ and the ‘Bird of Paradise Dance’ which performed by the Indonesian Consulate’s dancers. (Source: Information/Indonesian Consulate in Chicago)