Batik for Americans and Indonesians Alike

Contest aims to fuse Indonesian tradition, American innovation

A fashion show featuring the creations of designer Denny Wirawan (C) was one highlight of the Apr. 8 event in Washington, DC. (Asia Society Washington Center)

WASHINGTON DC, April 8, 2011 - The American Batik Design Competition was launched at the Washington Marriott Wardman ParkHotel with a celebration that included Indonesian cuisine, traditional Indonesiandance, remarks from Ambassador Dino Patti Djalal, and a fashion show featuring designer Denny Wirawan.

Currently underway with thetheme "The Spirit of America in the Heritage of Batik," the competition challenges American designers to create their own form of batik. Referring to either a method of coloring textiles or the textile/garment itself, batik is found throughout the Indonesian archipelago in a variety of different styles. The competition seeks to promote Indonesian heritage and bring "closer the Indonesian creativ eculture to American innovative popular culture," with winners of the best designs to receive cash prizes.

Many guests, including Asia Society Washington Executive Director Jack Garrity, wore their own batik and had the opportunity to buy selections during a silent auction before the opening ceremony. During the runwayshows, models displayed batik designed by Denny Wirawan, one of Indonesia'stop fashion designers.

The evening also included an informative introduction to batik by Mattiebelle Gittinger, of the Textile Museum in Washington, as well a series of traditional danceperformances. 

Reported by Adrian Stover, Asia Society Washington