A contemporary take on batik art

A contemporary take on batik art

Artist Fajrina Razak makes batik with text on it for the exhibition, Of Wax, Dyes and Labour. (Photo: Fajrina Razak)

Batik is a textile familiar to many in Southeast Asia but often as fabric for everyday use, rather than as inspiration for contemporary art. A new exhibition, however, might change this.

The Malay Heritage Centre’s exhibition, Of Wax, Dyes and Labour, which opens on 19 Jan, will feature batik-inspired works by seven artists who specialise in media such as ceramics, wood and photography.

The curator of the exhibition, Fajrina Razak, who is also an artist with works in the show, says she was keen to involve artists of different disciplines in this project. She wanted them to feel free to experiment and take the traditional form of textile art to the next level.

On the artists she chose to partner with for this show, Fajrina says she was familiar with their work and had collaborated with most of them previously. She especially admired their dedication to craft and use of labour-intensive techniques in their art. To her, this was an indication that they would appreciate the challenge of working with batik.

“The batik-making process is long and requires a lot of trial and error,” explains Fajrina. “It makes it easier to select artists who understand the time-consuming process of any craft.”

The participating artists were given a crash course on the wax-resist technique used to make traditional batik. Their resulting batik-inspired works, however, are as diverse as the disciplines they specialise in.

Conceptual artist Yang Jie’s work is an interactive batik structure. Printmaker Amirah Raudhah Razali, who goes by the moniker AmirahRau, will be showing a combination of prints and batik fabric in the form of a series of books.

Fajrina’s work, a 5m-long silk-blend fabric with text created using batik techniques, is an embodiment of her Malay-Javanese heritage, ethnic identity and observations on life.

Visitors to this batik-inspired exhibition can look forward to newfound appreciation for how limitless and timeless the art form is.


Details on Of Wax, Dyes and Labour here.

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