Batik Betawi Terogong, a journey to revive a lost heritage
Blog contributor: Siti Laila, of Batik Terogong, Jakarta
Indonesia is the world’s most extensive archipelago with more than 17,500 islands and each region with their own unique cultural heritage. Batik is one of Indonesia’s most loved heritages and in 2009 was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. For further details, please click the following link to find out more. (http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/en/RL/indonesian-batik-00170).
Batik making is practised in many regions in Indonesia such regions in Java, Sumatera, Kalimantan, Bali, Sulawesi and many other places, each with their own distinct characteristic to represent their own culture and tradition. Central Java Batik, such as those made in Yogyakarta, Solo, Kudus and other Batik making towns in Central Java are probably the most popular.
Many batik lovers may not yet heard about batik Jakarta (or batik Betawi) before, but I am proud to share with you that Batik Jakarta existed since during the latest part of the Dutch occupation. Once Indonesia claimed independent from the Dutch in 1945, Jakarta as a capital city of the newly independent country, slowly transformed itself, creating extreme changes to its surroundings and its people. Kampung Terogong, which previously a very active batik producing village, was slowly fading away with all the new changes and development around it. People were opting for the different way of lives and careers and batik artists beginning to abandoned batik making activities.
Over the past few decades, batik textile, particularly batik tulis, got better popularity within batik lovers both in Indonesia and around the world. In 2011 the governor of Jakarta initiated a project aimed to revive the production of the lost batik Jakarta, and offered incentives to several villages around the capital to kick-start the project. Our village, Terogong feel truly blessed to have chosen as one of the villages to receive the support and to take part in this revival project.
As a capital city, Jakarta is undergoing continuous transformation and development and at the same time creates more jobs and business opportunities. People from around Indonesia are flocking to capital to seek new opportunities; hence demands for new houses and buildings are increasing all the time and as result small villages around the capital were slowly disappearing, and many villagers who owned plots in these villages saw this as money making opportunities and these plots were transferred fast to the hands of property developers.
Most lands in the centre of Jakarta, previously owned by the Betawi people, the native people of Jakarta. The dramatic changes in Jakarta in the past few decades has pushed the Betawi people away from their homeland. The culture in the capital continues to undergo major changes, threatening the native Betawi culture and traditions. In the past few decades, we have seen much of our culture and traditions disappearing fast and this is a major concerned for our people.
We cannot sit back and watch a huge chunk of our culture and heritage disappearing from our lives, and we believe that prevention can be done, by taking part in small and doable projects, such as the revival of batik Betawi. This action will help prevent any further disappearance to native Betawi culture and traditions. We hope that this action will help preserve batik heritage in Jakarta for our future generations. In 2012, a number of people from our village have agreed to establish a small batik making group (community) called Sanggar Batik Betawi Terogong aims to revive batik Betawi and at the same time developing home industry for families living in the village and to empower women.
As a founder of Sanggar Batik Betawi, I feel that I have full responsibility to make this project a success. A large number of our batik artists still believe that batik making is an old fashion activity and will not bring good money. I continue to find ways to encourage our batik artists to stay positive and work hard and making good commitment to this project.
We are happy to say, that the batik reviving project in Terogong is doing very well and achieving good development in bringing batik Betawi back. We are truly grateful to those who have visited our workshops and supported us in making this project a great success.
We still have a long journey to get to where we need to be, your support and encouragement mean a lot to the success of our work. Join us in preserving batik Betawi. We arranged workshops and classes for children and adults, for individual or group.
We are located Jl.Terogong III, RT.9/RW.10, Cilandak Bar., Cilandak, Kota Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 12430, Indonesia. Telephone +62 21 7664672. Call us to find out more on how to attend batik classes in Terogong.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, hope to see you in our workshop soon.