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Betawi batik nearing extinction in Jakarta
Dec '10
Batik is amongst the most well-known crafts that signify the Indonesian culture, but then some people from the capital city of Jakarta are claiming that it is on the verge of extinction.

Stringent environmental policies, financial crisis and a general state of despair have all affected the diaspora of the artisans from Jakarta, engaged in the production of a kind of batik called the Betawi batik. This has led to a fall in the number of batik artisans engaged in the creation of unique Betawi batik designs in Jakarta.

Further that, with UNESCO granting it a status of a world heritage, the art has reappeared in other regions of the country, but is still lagging behind in Jakarta, both in terms of the production volume as well as the number of artisans.

There are several reasons responsible for the lack of aspiration required to sustain this craft.

High cost of land and stringent policies regarding extraction of ground-water hold back the artisans in Jakarta from taking up batik printing. A majority of batik artisans in the city carry out the production work from home. But now, some of them who were required to sell their land to support themselves are moving to the suburbs, as living in the city has become too expensive for them.

Also, due to financial reasons it is not possible for these small artisans to compete with the shopping centres and office buildings in terms of space.

Batik production, most of the time, involves use of harmful synthetic dyes and releases potentially dangerous effluents like wax. Moreover, a lot of water is also required for the purpose.

Also, the stringent environmental policies and constraints on use of ground water, too, have caused many of the artisans to shift to different locations.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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