Malaysian Batik: Reinventing a Tradition, traces the history of batik, the materials, methods and motifs of the block-stamped and hand drawn methods, and the ways in which Malaysian batik has been transformed into a craft with international appeal.
Batik is more than wax and dye applied to a length of cloth. It is an art form practiced by people around Asia. With its its bolder, abstract designs and its brighter palette, Malaysian batik is a distinctly different type of batik that has brought an exciting new dimension to this ancient method of fabric art.
Historically seen as a craft, batik making in Malaysia today has segued into more of an art form, both in its creation and its uses. Historically, batik fabric was fashioned into sarongs to be worn by people across all walks of life. More often now batik fabrics are used for lifestyle products, as art pieces and, above all, for contemporary high fashion. The pieces that are created display an originality of composition and design, an effective use of color, a high level of technical expertise and a flair for working in the medium that are the hallmarks of great works of art. Many of the recent advances in Malaysian batik are due to the initiatives of the Yayasan Budi Penyayang, which has revitalized the Malaysian batik industry by adapting it to suit fashion needs and utilized the Asian fashion industry to promote and display its beauty.