“The Wax on Our Fingers” or “Malam di Jari Kita” is a collaboration between Samantha Tio, a Singaporean photographer, and Budi Agung Kuswara, an Indonesian artist. A result of her residency at the prestigious Indonesian photography collective, Ruang Mes 56 in Yogyakarta, “The Wax on Our Fingers” presents a series of portraits of traditional Batik makers in Indonesia.
The project is specifically highlighting the process of “Batik tulis”, which translates into handwritten Batik. The process involves the craftsmen (or women, in this case) to create patterns on fabric by hand, using a pen like tool that embeds wax into the cloth.
Mintio and Kuswara worked with the batik makers, who are all women, to create unique prints that document the community’s specific style of Batik and their lives. Printed on actual cloth, that are then handcrafted into Batik fabric, the reults displayed are poetic and beautiful. However, the work of the artists did not stop there. “The Wax on Our Fingers” is a layered social engagement project which also consists of educational programs, presentations and a short documentary video. The artist duo continue to advocate for the a tradition and a way of life that is threatened by poverty and modernization.
The work is also currently on display at the National University of Singapore’s Baba House Museum. More details about the exhibition and the museum can be found by clicking here.