The Jakarta Post
Batik Garuda Nusantara is a 74-meter-long piece of fabric that features a variety of traditional batik patterns. (JP/Jessicha Valentina)
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and First Lady Iriana kicked off the coloring process of a 74-meter-long batik cloth called "Garuda Nusantara" on Aug. 1 at Bundaran HI MRT station in Central Jakarta.
Goresan pertama cucuk canting pada kain batik sepanjang 74 meter di salah satu peron Stasiun MRT Bundaran HI, Jakarta, siang ini. Saya dan Ibu Negara melakukannya sebagai penanda dimulainya bulan kemerdekaan, Agustus 2019. Kami menggambar pola Gurdo. Itu pola garuda -- Garuda Nusantara. Selanjutnya, 74 pembatik dari sentra-sentra produksi batik Indonesia meneruskannya.
Hosted by Tjanting Batik Nusantara Foundation, the program was aimed at promoting batik to an international audience.
The organization mentioned during a press conference on Friday that Jokowi and Iriana marked the beginning of Batik Garuda Nusantara’s long journey across the archipelago as they planned to involve batik makers in eight batik centers to finish the project.
Head of the organization’s board of supervisors Sandra Hutabarat said the journey was going to be long.
"We will do a roadshow from one batik center to another,” said Sandra.
During the ceremony, Jokowi was said to start the coloring process on a gurdo motif.
The gurdo motif depicts the mythical bird Garuda, which is also Indonesia's national symbol.
However, Batik Garuda Nusantara will also feature other motifs, such as kawung (a four-lobed pattern inspired by the palm tree), parang (also known as lereng, the pattern was previously reserved for the Javanese royal family) and sekar jagad (batik patterns symbolizing beauty).
Sandra explained that since batik centers had their own signature motif and color, they would incorporate the varieties into the sekar jagad motif.
“Sekar jagad usually forms small islands filled with other motifs, such as kawung or parang. Here, we are going to combine [sekar jagad] with motifs from every [batik] center, such as besurek batik from Bengkulu and megamendung from Cirebon, West Java,” said Sandra, adding that they would apply natural coloring techniques to the fabric.
“Batik is the process, [and] we want to preserve the process,” she mentioned, explaining that the organization aimed to bring back the authentic batik-making process conducted by the ancestors.
“We have set a target of finishing it within 12 months,” added Sandra.
Chairman of the organization’s supervisory board, Pheo M. Hutabarat, said 2019 was an important year for Indonesia as it was the 10th year after the recognition of batik as UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, as well as Indonesia's appointment as a nonpermanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
“There’s a relevance between the motifs we incorporate [in Batik Garuda Nusantara] and keeping the world peace,” said Pheo.
Bonny Widjoseno, chairman of Tjanting Batik Nusantara Foundation, said that once the project was finished, they would take the fabric abroad.
“This Batik Garuda Nusantara fabric should go global and inspire the younger generation,” said Bonny. (mut)