Jakarta. Inspired by an emotional connection to clothes, curator Ika Vantiani is inviting Jakarta residents to explore the human side of fabrics through her "For Keepsake Keep Me" exhibition at the Goethe-Institut in Central Jakarta as part of its "IKAT/eCut" fringe program.
"I have always wanted to make an event where we can celebrate our habit in keeping one particular [clothing] item, because they bring back so many memories. I truly believe that with every fabric comes a story," Ika said during the exhibition on Wednesday (15/03).
The exhibition will showcase 31 of 50 pieces of clothing and fabric submitted by people throughout Indonesia. Ika said the IKAT Indonesia committee began receiving submissions for the exhibition via Instagram in February.
The organization is dedicated to applying ikat dyeing techniques used to pattern textiles employing a resist dyeing method on the yarns prior to dyeing and weaving the fabric. The resist is formed by binding individual yarns or bundles of yarns with a tight wrapping applied in the desired pattern and the yarns are then dyed.
"All of the pieces in this exhibition were selected based on the originality of the item and their underlying stories," she said.
For Ika, the value of a piece of clothing goes beyond which fashion label produced it or what country it was manufactured in.
"It is interesting that people in Indonesia, especially the older generations, like to pass on one particular item of clothing to their children or relatives as a symbol of love and respect. Those things, of course, add human value to clothes," she said.
Ika said there are not many fashion exhibitions where people can share emotional stories behind their favorite "digs" and that this exhibition should be celebrated.
"The show gives participants the chance to share beautiful memories that should be remembered and cherished with others through their displayed items."
Sophia Hage, one of the participants in the exhibition, has chosen to showcase her beloved Sumba cloth given to her by her mother when she was young.
"This Sumba cloth was bought by my mother, a Korean lady, at a batik store in Lampung in the 1980s. This cloth is also a reminder of my mother who raised me through the lens of Indonesian culture even though she herself is not Indonesian,” she said.
Sophia said that she has a lot of clothes in her wardrobe but that this one particular cloth reminds her of home.
"After I got married and moved to my own place, I used this cloth as a blanket to cure my homesickness. To me, monetary value doesn't matter much. The memory attached to this cloth is what makes it valuable."
Sophia is hopeful similar exhibitions in the future will allow people to share and cherish their memories through fashion.
"This show doesn’t highlight the price or the materials of the fabrics, but celebrates the human memory and sentimental value attached to what we put on our bodies. An event like this is very rare and interesting."
"For Keepsake Keep Me" will be open to the public until March 26.