Iwan Tirta, one of the most precious Indonesia Batik Designer

Iwan Tirta  

I prefer to be a big fish in small pond rather than small fish in big pond –Iwan Tirta 

  

Three days ago, the famous and talented batik designer, Iwan Tirta, was died. I ever heard his name but couldn’t recall his face, yet I believe he was a great man. Since, I am really passionate with Indonesian heritage, thus I am really curious what kind of person Iwan Tirta was. Not longer than that, I knew Metro TV rerun Dalton Tanaka’s interview with him last year, therefore I was absolutely watch it.  

Young Iwan Tirta was got college on London, made he was mingle with many people with different background. This experience also lead him into big question, “Who I am?”. Am I a black Europe, because I have all of Asian characteristic but have attitude and dress like Europe people. It also happened to many Indonesian people that lived or stay at Europe. That reflection was encourage him to go home and made batik.. 

He was confess his batik is expensive, because it made traditionally and pass through complicated process. No compromise at all, he said. Though his batik needed long process to created, he didn’t want to change the method from hand-made into machine. He was thinking batik not only business but also art. It also made him didn’t afraid with other countries that also produce batik. He said they just made by copied our batik patterns, but they didn’t know the philosophy contain on the batik, so he still confidence that Indonesia have best batik. We made every piece of Batik with heart because we know the meaning of all of the patterns. 

With all of his greatest and successful, he was admits he wasn’t really rich. He couldn’t buy 3 Mercedez, for instance. He realize he could be more successful than his entire life if he being a successful lawyer, but he prefer not choose it. His name soon will be forgotten even he is one of richest lawyer, but when he prefer to be a Batik Designer, he knew that he already contribute something for his country, by then his name will always be remembering by many people. 

I am amazed when he said one of his dreams is to build Batik Museum. In his opinion, museum in Indonesia perceive as history, not as a weapon. That’s why museum not establish scientifically, it was taken care by government not by people who really understand about the meaning of all of the things on the museum. For example, they just label one thing from West Java, but not explain specifically what part of West Java that thing originally found or what the meaning of that thing? There are no valid and reliable data in our museum. He was compare it, and also inspired by, museum *I forget the place, maybe in Egypt* that was be research place for Film names Cleopatra.   

Done with his passionate in Batik, it quite interesting to know he was gay and he had no shame to made proclamation about it. He was also criticizes about Indonesia culture which ostracize and gossiping people who are not marrying when they are 35 years. But it also boost his spirit, because he believe, if he success people will not care either he married or not. He also gave message for young people who still confused with their sexual identity, to read books. He believe books are window to the world, once you read you will be know anything, about your sexuality, sex disease, and so forth. Hence young people will be able to choose wisely the best option for their life.          

It was also quite interesting when Dalton said one name and Iwan must give his opinion about him/her. Began with Soekarno, he said he was very brilliant person and also diligent because he was read many book about many things. It was explain his interest to many things, include pretty woman. In his opinion, Dewi Soekarno was a woman who likes publication. Soeharto was seen as a real farmer. His attitude to heap things perceived as a farmer attitude. Megawati is not a brilliant and smart women but she had a smart and brilliant husband. SBY seen as a not smart person, but he is very diligent, and he likes reading a lot. That’s why he needs Jusuf Kalla, who are smart and have entrepreneur spirit. Barack Obama perceive as great man, but Iwan afraid Obama don’t has much time to help Indonesia as his promise, because he has a lot of responsibility waiting for him, not just Indonesia. Apparently, Iwan Tirta didn’t know Luna Maya, he had no idea about her when he asked about her. I think because it was interview in 2009, I believe Iwan will know her if he interview recently ;p          

At the end, he really confidence to declare he already put Indonesia on world map, either from fashion and culinary world. Obviously, he really did it! With all of his though, I think I am start to admire him. Really, he is one of the Indonesia inspirational. Like he said, yes, his name always life on, especially in young passionate Indonesia who wants to spread about Indonesian heritage. Proud Indonesia had one likes you. Good bye, Iwan Tirta..

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