Hidden Blue

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Zahir Widadi and an example of his batik

Hidden Blue

Discovering the Ancient Wisdom of the Natural Indigo Dyeing Process in Javanese Batik

This presentation will provide a brief history and introduction to Javanese batik. Zahir Widadi will explain how Indigofera Tinctoria was used in the ancient kingdoms of Java to create rich and enduring colours with deep connection to nature, history, and culture. He will provide an overview of traditional dyeing techniques from harvesting, to producing indigo paste with all natural reducing agents, as well as hand-drawn and hand-stamped batik techniques. Zahir will talk about his award-winning “Tanahan” motifs. Tanahan (meaning “earth”) are tiny patterns normally found in the background of traditional batik cloth. Zahir and his workshop have elevated these humble background motifs to be centre-stage on the fabric. The tanahan patterns are inspired by the small plants and flower buds in the area where the batik makers live. Skilled artisans create these fine and free-flowing patterns from their hearts, rather than following a pre-planned design.

Zahir Widadi is one of Indonesia’s foremost authorities on batik as he approaches the country’s traditional batik through the lenses of art, archaeology and philosophy. He researches the ancient techniques of batik-making using only natural dyes, the significance of traditional motifs and delves into the how and why of batik dyeing. He is a recipient of the World Craft Council’s Award of Excellence in 2018 for his innovative use of Tanahan motifs in indigo-dyed batik and set up the first academic faculty in Indonesia with the batik Faculty at the University of Pekalongan. He was also the first director of the Batik Museum in Pekalongan from 2006-2011. During his tenure Widadi was an instrumental part of the team that was tasked to prepare the dossiers of Indonesian batik to UNESCO. Indonesian batik was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in 2009.

The presentation will be followed by a visit to KIN – an exhibition of contemporary PNG art at Queensland Art Gallery, with lunch afterwards at Sendok Garpu in the City for those interested.

HOW TO BOOK: Registration is essential by Saturday 1 October to Mandy at taasa.qld@gmail.com Please advise 1. Registration for the presentation and 2. If you also intend to join the group for lunch. Those wishing to attend lunch will be sent bank details to make an up front payment of $37 pp. This is not refundable. (Mandy has to cover payment for all booked guests).


9 October, 2022
11:00 am - 3:00 pm AEDT
Event Category:




Gallery of Modern Art
Stanley Place NSW Australia + Google Map