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Monday, November 24, 2014

Artist Donna Backues Preserving Indonesian Batik in America

Artist Donna Backues Preserving Indonesian Batik in America

Never lived in Indonesia for 18 years has made Donna Backues, an artist from the United States, a love for Indonesia.

Ever lived in Indonesia for 18 years has made Donna Backues, an artist from the United States, a love for Indonesia. Strong ties with Indonesia continue intertwined after a woman who was born in 1962 returned to America and settled in the area south of the city of Philadelphia, located in the state of Pennsylvania.

"In 1989, I joined her husband moved to Bandung, Indonesia, because my husband is no opportunity to learn Indonesian," recalls Donna told VOA reporter, Ronan Zakaria recently.

Artist Donna Backues in Philadelphia
Artist Donna Backues in Philadelphia
While taking care of her first child who at the time was two months old, the alumni S2 of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Phiadelphia with a background in graphic design had the opportunity to learn batik in a small batik factory in Bandung. Science continues digelutinya batik until now.

"Small businesses that had Mr. Hasannudin that I think it was also working as a professor of art at the ITB at that time. He is the Pekalongan. I'm les of Mr. Hasannudin. Although he agrees, he is busy and can not actually teach me. But he says if you want to participate, workers there could teach me, "said the woman who currently pursue a profession in the field of painting, illustration, design and often teach art.

Twice a week, Donna went to the factory to learn the art of batik and batik for more than two years. "It also allowed me to learn Indonesian, because at that time I could not at all," said the woman who is fluent in Indonesian is laughing.

After eight years of living in Bandung, Donna and her family decided to move to Tasikmalaya and live near Dadaha for ten years.

"In Indonesia, I am happy because there is a slow paced of life. More relaxed. Plenty of time to chat with neighbors, "joked Donna.

In Tasikmalaya he helped her set up and take care of a foundation called Yayasan contribution Nuance Indonesia engaged in the field of primary health, agriculture, production of import and export of handicrafts, education, credit, and the arts.

"I love teaching art and there is also a unit of handicrafts. So I can design products such as scarves. I do not batik scarfnya, but I wrote and it's making batik design by the Lake in fact, "said the woman who loves to cook chicken soup and this rendang.

In 2007, Donna decided to return to America, because her two children have started great. Although according to Donna children prefer to stay in Indonesia.

"There was one child who was adopted from Jakarta," said the woman who like to paint and read this. "Incidentally, he is more like an American, because he was little time to come to America. But remember Indonesia, because he was 8 years old. But perhaps the language he can understand a lot but less English, not like a brother, "he continued.

Upon his return to America, Donna was not interested in batik, because he does not have a large room in the house. "I just started making batik in America when there are high school art teacher in a Catholic in Philadelphia who asked me to teach his students to use the process," he said.

He then followed the American Batik Design Competition 2013 organized by the embassy of the republic of Indonesia in Washington, DC in 2013. The prize is a batik tour with two other winners to Pekalongan. Since then Donna often asked to teach batik and batik often exhibit and batik workshops. Elements of Indonesia it show in his works.

"For example, a kind of scenery Indonesia emerged, such as volcanoes or palm trees, which I use as a motive. May see yourself on my website, www.donnabackues.com, "he said.

Artist Donna Backues in Philadelphia (photo / doc: Donna Backues)
Artist Donna Backues in Philadelphia (photo / doc: Donna Backues)
Donna batik works a lot of praise from the local US communities. However, most of them do not know what it is batik.

"Most of the Americans never see the process of batik from Indonesia. If I use the term batik too, usually they respond to me to ask, what is batik? "Said Donna.

Donna achievement in producing works of art led to the Art and Change Grant prize of 30 million dollars from foundations Leeway Foundation in Philadelphia. Of the hundreds of people who signed up, he became one of 30 winners who had chosen to get the funds.

"Every year an NGO named Leeway Foundation held a sort of registration or 'Call for Women Artists," in order to be free of the ideas of women in using the arts as an effective catalyst of social change for the sake of society, "he explained.

The plan funds will be used to open a batik class devoted to the Indonesian community in America.

"If there are people with one or two want to come may. But it is important people of Indonesia. Because I can be an art and change of Leeway Foundation Grant to conduct a special project for social change. Positive change of society so I want to hold a large batik course for children, adults Indonesian people living in South Philadelphia, "said Donna. "The goal is to preserve the tradition of Javanese culture. In order for Indonesian children can learn their traditions. Because in Indonesia today, perhaps even more famous batik started among children, but in America the children no opportunity to learn, "he continued.

Artist Donna Backues in Philadelphia
Artist Donna Backues in Philadelphia
As a teacher in America batik, batik equipment owned by Donna quite complete. All the material he needs to be found on the Internet.

"I've got four skillet electric and electric wires, also some canting and other equipment to prepare color. If there are schools or other organizations that want to hold a workshop, they must be prepared with a budget of materials, such as fabrics, fabrics, colors, night, dyes, and possibly additional canting taste, "he said.

Living in America makes Donna longing for Indonesia. Although in Philadelphia he could find a lot of Indonesian food, there are a favorite food is he missed. "Rice tutug oncom. Raos linings! "He closed the interview with VOA. (VOA)

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