KUALA LUMPUR: The batik-making industry in Malaysia is set for a revival through a project to boost its appeal, especially on the international front.
The ambitious project — “Malaysia in 100m of Batik Pointillism” (M100MBP) — was launched by Indah Atelier, which is a subsidiary of Moel Group of Companies, at the Ritz-Carlton here recently.
Under the project, the tale of Malaysia’s past, present and future — dating from 1400 to 2030 — will be curated into a 100m-long batik pointillism (dot painting technique) piece to be displayed in countries around the globe.
A 10m-long batik pointillism piece, which is part of the 100m-long monochromatic batik masterpiece, was displayed and launched simultaneously.
Indah Atelier founder and chief executive officer Mathumathi Manickvasagar Pilay said through the M100MBP project, the company aimed to promote the work of Malaysian batik artisans locally and globally, instil a sense of nationalism and pride among Malaysians and create a global network for batik artisans by linking them up with international designers.
She added that there was a need for creativity and innovation in the industry to drive up the global demand for the national heritage.
“Preserving batik should go beyond attaining national heritage status.
“We want this fine art to be given recognition. Our goal is not to just preserve this national pride, but also showcase it on an international platform,” she said, adding that the company was invested in taking the art onto runways and into international fashion houses.
Indah Atelier has a strong presence in Dubai, India, London, Italy, Egypt, Hong Kong and Singapore, which the company plans to leverage to increase the global appeal for batik.
“Through M100MBP, we will create this dot drawing technique on satin, which will stretch 100m long.
“We hope this initiative will be listed in the Malaysian Book of Records. We wish to nurture and inspire our nation’s younger artisans to be bolder and more creative in creating batik artworks using the pointillism technique.
“We would like to boost creativity and innovation in the industry.
“The fusion of batik and pointillism art will elevate the demand and future of the industry. At the same time, we are empowering local artisans through fair wages, career opportunities and entrepreneurship.”
Moving forward with digitalisation for commercial viability, Mathumathi said lndah Atelier would launch its e-commerce platform for artisans to promote their products, making it more accessible for customers to procure batik pieces by Indah Atelier.
lndah Atelier was founded in 2017 when Mathumathi ventured into the garments industry. She saw a potential in Malaysian batik, culminating in her collaboration with master artisan Wan Mahtar Wan Salleh.
Master Wan, as he is better known, has over 30 years of experience in the batik industry is assisting the atelier in the technicality of the art of pointillism.
The art of pointillism, which was developed by George Seurat and Paul Signac in 1886, is a technique of painting small and distinct dots in colour applied in patterns to form an image.
lndah Atelier project director Khaled Ahmed Adel EI-Sherief said the recruitment of batik artisans would be complemented with comprehensive coaching.
“We are coming up with modern designs from different angles, as well as looking at recruiting batik artisans.
“Batik artists from Kelantan and Terengganu were handpicked and placed under lndah Atelier’s tutelage for three months.
“We aim to develop their skills and techniques to generate business opportunities for them. Our focus is on empowering the Bottom 40 income group.
“However, I must stress that for us to enjoy the fruits of our labour, we need the support of the government, private sector, as well as the media,” Khaled added.
The M100MBP project is expected to be completed just in time for the National Day celebration next year and would be displayed at the National Art Gallery and Petronas Galleria.
From the hands of some 30 local artisans, the art piece would largely depict historical images — from the Melaka Sultanate to the Portuguese and Dutch periods, to the British era and the Japanese Occupation.
Through the #myartisan campaign, which is part of the project, this initiative is expected to raise the international appeal of batik and revolutionise the local batik industry.