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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:25 pm 
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Striking patterns. Global Traces in Local Ikat Fashion
21 October – 26 March 2017


In its latest exhibition the Museum der Kulturen Basel is presenting a fascinating panoply of ikat art from eastern Indonesia and East Timor.

The designs of these textiles from eastern Indonesia and East Timor include, among others, surprising motifs such as Indian flowers, European roses, angels, airplanes and elephants. Some of the cloths have a soft golden hue, others shine in bright synthetic colours. One can interpret these features as early traces of globalization, with some of them reaching back as far as the sixteenth century.

Once again the Museum der Kulturen Basel, in its capacity as a competence centre for textiles and textile techniques, is putting on an exhibition that draws on its rich stock of textiles, complemented by exhibits from the collection of the anthropologist Willemjin de Jong. On display are also new pieces acquired by the exhibition’s curators Richard Kunz and de Jong on a research trip to Indonesia and East Timor last year, following in the footsteps of Alfred Bühler who visited and collected in the region back in 1935. At the same time the two experts gained insight into the present situation of ikat weaving in eastern Indonesia and East Timor.

Ikat describes a special patterning technique in which the yarn is tied and dyed before weaving – the Indonesian term “ikat” means “to tie”. To produce multicoloured cloths, the tie-and-dye process is applied repeatedly. It is only after weaving that the complex patterns emerge.

The varied display includes a wide range of high-quality ikat cloths created by master weavers. Ever since ikat began, weavers have incorporated foreign influences and thus have actively been engaged in the process of globalization. It began as long ago as the ninth century with maritime trade and the export of textiles from India to the Indonesian archipelago. Trade in the area reached a climax in the sixteenth century under the impact of Portuguese and Dutch mercantile expeditions. This also explains why many of the cloths on display feature designs such as the Indian eight-pointed flower pattern, Portuguese cross-stitch patterns as well as various Catholic motifs. Since the 1970s the tourist industry has increasingly impacted on the art of ikat weaving. A telling example of this influence is the motif showing tourist couples taking selfies at colourful volcanic lakes.

“These master weavers incorporate their own understanding of modernity and fashion trends. They strive for individuality but at the same time they accommodate to the taste of their customers”, says Richard Kunz. Tradition is regarded as a facet of modernity. Kunz and de Jong’s research trip last year showed that the art of ikat in eastern Indonesia and East Timor is very much alive and highly dynamic.

In many local communities ikat cloths still play a key role in social life. They are worn on festive occasions and provide important markers of prestige, one of the reasons why weavers are esteemed as accomplished artists. The exhibition includes portraits of six weavers in which they speak of their life and their work, enabling viewers a more personal access to the cloths on display.

The exhibition is complemented by contemporary artworks by Ito Joyoatmojo and Susi Kramer who have relied on the art of ikat from the island of Flores as a source of inspiration for their own creations.

See http://www.mkb.ch/en/programme/events/2 ... dPast=true

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published in two languages by Hatje Cantz Verlag.
ISBN 978-3-7757-4187-3 (English) / ISBN 978-3-7757-4186-6 (German) see http://www.mkb.ch/en/museum-shop/Online ... .0110.html
Quote:
Abstract of Catalogue

A journey through the art and craft of woven textiles reveals to both laypersons and experts multiple perspectives: how do the designs and the use of textiles change in the light of overseas trade, the demands of politics and (trans-)local aesthetics? How do weavers react to foreign influences, global fashion trends, technical innovation and Western copyright regimes?

Starting point is the fascinating art and technology of creating intricate patterns on woven textiles called ikat, which has developed dynamically over the course of the centuries. The focus of the publication is on the works of highly qualified weavers from Eastern Indonesia and Timor-Leste—on the skilful production of the cloths, their rich designs as well as their social agency. A group of international authors reveal that the cloths not only embody dimensions of fashion and modernity that have been widely unrecognized up until now but also multifaceted aspects of globalization that have barely been researched to date.

In addition to giving the protagonists a voice of their own, the publication also weaves numerous narrative threads that newly link the patterns to notions about family relations, ancestral origins and ritual practices. With its many illustrations and photo spreads the book provides a precious overview as well as a detailed introduction to the enchanting world of ikat weaving.

Table of contents

Rated “Striking“ – Anna Schmid
Introduction – Richard Kunz and Willemijn de Jong
Textile Patterning and the Making of Meaning: What Weavers Say – Roy W. Hamilton
On Expedition: Techniques and Aesthetics – Richard Kunz
Biography of a Collection: Reflections on the Flores Textiles of the Anthropologist Willemijn de Jong – Paola von Wyss-Giacosa
The Shoulder Cloth luka semba: Being (Trans-)Local in Flores – Willemijn de Jong
Portraits Weavers
Adaption and Innovation in Baguia’s Textiles from 1935–2014 – Joanna Barrkman
Cut from the Same Cloth? Indonesian Copyright Law and the Authority of Flores Weavers – Lorraine V. Aragon
Intellectual Property Rights, Handmade Textiles, and the Ikat Tenun Sikka Project – Monique Bagal and Peter Damary


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