Our Small Ikat Textile Exhibition in Chelsea, London, Supported by BNI 46 team, London

Our Small Ikat Textile Exhibition in Chelsea, London, Supported by BNI 46 team, London

22nd of June 2014, A date fairly late in June and considered to be mid-summer, but London’s morning often fairly cold even in the middle of summer. I woke up to a bright blue sky that morning, but it was still a little nippy outside. I got all my boxes ready for the BNI Anniversary event. This event took place in Chelsea, Central London. It was great that I packed everything the night before and my husband had agreed to drop me, as it was no way I could carry all those boxes on the train or bus.  At least the weather was good, unlike our previous small exhibition in Nottingham we had on the 6th June 2014, which was an absolute disaster with non-stop rain and hence some of our textiles got wet in the leaking tent.

The BNI event organising team guided me to the little space allocated for Connect Indonesia, The Charity Display. I was pleasantly surprised to see the size of the space given to us, all of this was free, thank you BNI for your support.

I started unpacking the textiles and display them on the most attractive display I could do. It wasn’t bad, the stand immediately got a few attention. The main purpose of this display was to promote the beauty of Indonesian textiles to all visitors on the day.  A few visitors did get a little annoyed that they couldn’t purchase them, but I wanted to keep these textiles for a few more exhibitions in the future before putting them for sale.  Most of the audience here today were Indonesians, they may have heard about Batik, Ikat (tenun) and songket, but generally, most Indonesians would treat or perceive that traditional textiles in their original form (not been made into fashion items) are only for ceremonial wears, and if they are to be worn only by the people living in villages in Indonesia and those who may not be considered modern or intellectual.  Ironic, but that is the truth for now.

Although in the past few years, the adoption of Indonesian textiles for making fashion accessories such handbags, dresses, jackets etc. is booming, only a small percentage of people will swap their low-end designer bags with the gorgeous textile Batik or Ikat bags. It is true, price wise, Indonesian handwoven ikat is not cheap, but should be understood that the making of these textiles would endure months of hard work, so the weaver’s hard work should be respected and appreciated. Indonesian traditional textiles have a long way to go to be loved and fully appreciated by Indonesian themselves, but the future of Indonesian traditional textiles globally is bright and beautiful.  The display went very well, indeed this was a great way to promote Indonesian Traditional textiles in a small scale, and a good way to let people hear about Connect Indonesia, The Charity’s current work. Out sincere gratitude to the BNI organising for providing us with the great corner for our display. 

Thank you for being here today,

Salam,