Batik, Space and Memory: Reading Visuality and Collective Memory in Batik Canting Merapi


After Merapi Volcano eruption in 2010, the people who live in the slope of Merapi were relocated to shelters (temporary and permanent settlement) ‘Pager Jurang’. Moving to a new living space, they, especially survivors women, had to make adjustments that are not easy. They live with memories of Merapi which disappear with the eruption. Since living in the shelter, they learned to make batik besides running activities as farmers and cattle ranchers. The motifs of the batik represent their memory about Merapi. This research wants to answer the questions, “how do survivors women of the Merapi eruption in Pager Jurang produce new social spaces and how they treat their collective memory through the Canting Merapi batik motif?” The research uses a visual semiotics approach, production of space, and collective memories. This research uses text analysis methods (visual semiotics) combined with observation and in-depth interviews with survivors women of the Merapi eruption. The research produces several findings. There are several types of Canting Merapi batik motifs that represent the collective memory of survivors women of the Merapi eruption: plants (coffee beans, coffee leaves, Kantong Semar, Parijoto leaves), animals (dragonflies, butterflies, even cows). The batik motifs do not only present mere visual signs, but bring back their imagination about Merapi as the homeland. The visual representations are also used by survivors women to keep their collective memory of Merapi and to present it continuously in different spaces.

Author Information
Mutia Dewi, Universitas Islam Indonesia, Indonesia
Ali Minanto, Universitas Islam Indonesia, Indonesia
Nadia Wasta Utami, Universitas Islam Indonesia, Indonesia
Puji Hariyanti, Islamic University of Indonesia, Indonesia
Ida Ningsih, Islamic University of Indonesia, Indonesia

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2019
Stream: Visual Communication

This paper is part of the MediAsia2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon