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Batik takes center stage at exhibition

Children encouraged to appreciate their own works and parents to recognize their talent

Batik takes center stage at exhibition
Two students from St. Pius Elementary School display batik they created for an exhibition of traditional Indonesian artwork
Robertus Sutriyono, Purbalingga

June 20, 2011

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Educators at an elementary school run by the Sisters of Notre Dame in Purbalingga, Central Java, hosted an exhibition of student-made art aimed at encouraging greater appreciation for traditional culture. The exhibition, which opened last week, showcased dozens of “batik,” or painted sections of patterned cloth, created by students of St. Pius Elementary School, as well as other handicrafts such as dolls and lamps adorned with ice cream sticks. Sister Maria Fidelia, one of the event’s organizers, said hundreds turned out to see the students’ artworks. “This exhibition aims at encouraging children to appreciate their own works. It also helps parents to recognize their children’s talent and creativity.” She said the exhibition also served to introduce viewers to batik, which has been practiced in Indonesia for centuries. Sister Maria added that the handmade batik, which requires the use of wax and dye, was a complicated and time-consuming art form that also taught children to be patient. Fransiska Yovita, one of the student artists whose works are on display, described the process used to produce traditional batik. She said students began by drawing a pattern on the cloth, which was later covered with wax poured from a small copper vessel with a spouted nib. “Then we put on some colors. After that, we wash the fabric and hang it in the sun to dry,” she said. Wilhelminus Alexander Agung Widodo, whose son produced a batik for the exhibition, said he was proud of the works on display. “The students have a great desire to do batik work. This can help preserve and even develop traditional culture in Indonesia.”

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