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Batik From Indonesia

What is Batik?

The word "batik" is Indonesian in origin, even if the concept was known by Egyptians and Indians. It is known to be more than a millenium old, and there are evidences that cloth decorated through some form of resist technique was in use in the early centuries AD in several West African, Middle-Eastern and Asian communities. 

The word Batik is originally an Idonesian-Malay word and means to dot .This art of textile is spread in the hindu and malay world, but Indonesia is certainly the heart of the Batik.This way of painting and coloring textile has reached its higher degree of excellence in the Island of Java , in cities like Solo, Yogyakarta, Pekalongan or Cirebon. From Java this 'batik' cloth was exported to other islands of the archipelago and to the Malay peninsula. 

On the 17th century, the Javanese sultanate of Mataram accorded important ceremonial functions to the Batik clothes. Sultan Agung of Mataram is known to have dressed in white cotton decorated with Indigo blue, and his court dancers wore kain kembangan colored with a red organic dye. 


Traditional batik in Java was made with a copper stamp or drawn on cloth by hand using a tool called a chanting. A chanting is a little copper bowl with a spout attached to a wood or bamboo handle. The chanting is dipped into hot wax. The artist draws with the chanting by using the law of gravity. The wax to pours out of the spout and penetrates the fabric.

The Process of Batik Making






Traditional batik, either tulis (hand drawn) or stamped, requires many application of wax and dye, but in modern times the process has been simplified. Joanie and Barbara do some work which they call double process; the fabric is pre colored. But mostly they work directly on white rayon. When the wax is removed, the lines are white. The art lies in the skillful drawing and the unique painting technique, which is best considered as watercolor on fabric.


Draw with washable markers so the original lines will disappear once the piece is waxed.


After wax has been applied  to our line drawings, the 
fabric is stretched flat on a  frame. The dyes we use to  paint spread easily, too easily. The art is in controlling 
where they go, and how each color interacts with  others, when to use a lot of water and when to use none at all.



The final product is a beautiful, durable and washable painting of fabric. These batiks will not fade, shrink or bleed.

Works of a famous Batik artist

This is John Tinger. A famous Batik Artist. And these are some of his batik works.



One Famous Batik Artist

 One of a Famous Batik Artist we have research on is David Kibuuka.David Kibuuka started painting at an early age in Uganda. His talent became quickly apparent at the age of 11 as he was able to sell his paintings in art galleries, such as Nomo Gallery in Kampala. At that time, David’s strength was pencil drawing and water color.
He was introduced to batik by his secondary school art teacher, Joseph Mungaya, who worked in the traditional batik technique. This was the first time David would see art being created on fabric with the use of wax and dyes. As Mungaya finished a series of batiks he was obligated to send them to Nairobi, Kenya to be sold to  tourists. This practice was becoming more and more necessary because Idi Amin had seriously disrupted the normal lifestyle of the average Ugandan. David was no exception. So critical was the situation, he decided to leave Uganda for Nairobi- just one year after being introduced to batik art. Batik art would become his sole source of income, right through the completion of his art college education in Nairobi. David’s artistic range included his exquisite Pencil drawings and Water colors, Oils, Acrylics.

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