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Colors from Home exhibition shows vibrant side of Indonesian batik

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, August 17, 2019  /  01:35 pm
Colors from Home exhibition shows vibrant side of Indonesian batik

'Into the Fuchsia Sky of Sunda Kelapa' is among the photos displayed at the Colors from Home exhibition that is being held until Aug. 24 at Plaza Indonesia in Central Jakarta. (Colours from Home/File)

Colors from Home is a batik-photography exhibition by JuxDuo that runs from Aug.10 to 24 at the Main Atrium of Plaza Indonesia in Central Jakarta.

An abbreviation of Juxtaposition-Duo, JuxDuo consists of Erza S.T., a travel writer and founder of the Indonesia Opera Society, and Alexander “Alex” Thian, an author and self-taught photographer also known as Amrazing. Having worked together since 2016, the two collaborate on photos where Erza is captured with batik fabrics by the Iwan Tirta Private Collection as he intends to promote the traditional fabrics to the world while traveling. 

Curated by a Jakarta-based art consultancy, ISA Art Advisory, the exhibition comprises more than 20 photos. Four photos are printed on photographic paper, while the remaining eight are printed on duchesse satin fabric and hung above the exhibition area alongside other batik fabrics.

Erza (left) and Alex agree that they're always involved in intense debates before the photo sessions. Erza (left) and Alex agree that they're always involved in intense debates before the photo sessions. (Colours from Home/File)

Both Alex and Erza usually do some research about the places they’ll be visiting, while Erza finds the fabric that suits the destinations. Each of their photos have stories and the pair are usually involved in intense debates before the photo session starts. “Our personalities are different – we’re like yin and yang and we fight all the time,” Alex said during the exhibition opening on Monday.

One of their photos, "Lost in the Moody Hong Kong", was taken in a dim alley with graffiti all over its walls. “It was already late and I was afraid we’d get robbed, but Erza wanted to be photographed there,” said Alex, adding that the alley reminded him of director Wong Kar Wai’s film tone. The result offers a different atmosphere compared to other photos.

Read also: Batik, traditional textiles grace Indonesia-led UNSC session

Meanwhile, in "Revealing the rouge of Siak Indrapura", the photo was taken at Indrapura Bridge in North Sumatra. The process was challenging as it took place in the middle of the road and they had to do it quick as they were being honked at by cars about to cross the bridge.

In their initial collaboration in 2016, Erza posed with the fabrics facing the camera, but Alex wasn’t satisfied with the results. The pose soon changed as he asked Erza to don the fabric like a superhero's cape and made it look as if it flows from the camera. “I was photographed from behind because we played in grey lines between male and female, we drew an androgynous line. […] If I wore the fabrics as a sarong or other types of clothes, they might lose the elegant effect,” said Erza.

Four photos by JuxDuo, which were printed on duchesse satin fabric, were hung amid batik fabrics by the Iwan Tirta Private Collection.Four photos by JuxDuo, which were printed on duchesse satin fabric, were hung amid batik fabrics by the Iwan Tirta Private Collection. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

They have visited a total of 10 countries so far, including Singapore, Cambodia, France and Monaco, and plan to continue the collaboration. “It all started as a fun thing to do based on our love for Indonesian batik," said Erza, who's also the ambassador of the batik brand. “At the end of the day, it becomes a habit.”

Colors from Home is part of Plaza Indonesia’s 2019 Indonesia Food and Art Festival series of events that aims to celebrate diversity. Held throughout August, among the events that people can enjoy are batik-making demonstrations by the Iwan Tirta Private Collection and art exhibitions. (mut)