Kingsland Road exhibition celebrates The Beauty of Batik
- Credit: Keshia Wong
A batik-themed pop-up celebrating Malaysia Independence Day is due to open at a Hackney dry cleaners turned art gallery and its downstairs restaurant.
The Steam Room and restaurant Gilvic, on Kingsland Road, will host the Beauty of Batik pop-up, planned as a collaborative celebration of the south east Asian country's Independence Day to showcase artists with Malaysian roots.
Batik is a traditional cloth dyeing craft with origins in Indonesia. As part of the pop-up, Batik stories have been crowdsourced from all around the world and woven into a collection of tributes at the exhibition, as well as printed in a booklet.
Keshia Wong, one of the artists told the Gazette how her art is based around symbolism and motifs with some inclusion of mythological creatures from Chinese culture. : "Inspired by the variety of historical Chinese art, I wanted to take a modern approach to traditional Oriental designs and symbolisms within our culture - adapt it to suit all generations.
“I think it is valuable to try and upkeep some old traditions and beliefs that may have been forgotten.”
Malaysia is a multi-cultural society made up of many ethnic groups including native Malays and populations of Chinese and Indian heritage.
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Keshia added: “I hope this batik exhibition overall would bring a sense of representation in the variety of art and food in our Malaysian culture.
Jenny Lau, curator of the exhibition, said: “We received a range of beautiful and heartwarming stories about how in batik cultures, batik literally forms the fabric of life.
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“There were memories of beloved mothers and grandmothers and how they wore their sarongs; musings on the everyday usefulness of batik fabric; all the way through to its presence at high days and holy days in the form of wedding attire; even in the upcycling of batik fabrics as gift wrapping and aprons.”
Owned by husband and wife team Tony and Fran, the Steam Room and its intergenerational legacy considers itself a part of Hackney’s multicultural fabric, and is passionate about supporting and elevating the next generation of ESEA talent.
The batik showcase will run from August 28 to September 11.