Meet Dinar: Tuban’s Next Generation Batik Artisan

Tuban Regency, East Java is a place renowned for its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, including the traditional batik style called Kerek. This unique batik stands out with its distinctive motifs, deep philosophical meanings, and vibrant colors, making it a cultural treasure that is important to preserve.

Amidst the wave of modernization and fading cultural traditions, Dinar Mustikowati, a young batik artisan from Tuban provides a glimpse of hope. A graduate from the Indonesian Institute of the Arts Yogyakarta, majoring in batik fashion, Dinar is passionate about preserving the Kerek batik.

Her love of batik began when she was young, as her family runs a batik business. While many young people of her generation opt for office jobs with regular salaries, Dinar is dedicated to continuing her cultural legacy.

Dinar Mustikowati carefully creates her colorful and detailed batik designs on the fabric

Aware of the younger generation's fading interest and appreciation in batik, Dinar leads various creative initiatives. One of these involves collaborating with teachers in formal schools to organize batik workshops. Through these workshops, students dive into the history and tradition of batik, learn how to make batik, and find ways to express themselves through their own designs. Dinar is also an active participant in the Wonder Women program, along with other women micro-entrepreneurs in Tuban. This program has expanded her network with other batik artisans, allowing Dinar to exchange ideas and strengthen her commitment to preserve the tradition and further develop the batik industry in Tuban.

Dinar, through her very own brand "Dinanti Batik," has made a mark not only locally but also on the national stage. She has participated in various competitions, including the batik uniform competition by one of Indonesia’s leading banks, where she secured a place among the top-three. Through her crafts, Dinar blends Tuban's traditional batik motifs with contemporary elements, creating new and fresh designs for her brand. This innovative approach even earned her a scholarship to Paris De La Mode, a fashion school in Tangerang, Banten—a very significant achievement.

Dinar Mustikowati and other batik artisans in Tuban Regency participating in a Wonder Women workshop.

As the founder of "Dinanti Batik," Dinar has built her business based on the 3Ps: people, planet, and profit. While profit is important, Dinar goes beyond just making income. She is dedicated to improving the welfare of batik artisans, nurturing them into skilled and prosperous artisans. Additionally, she prioritizes environmental sustainability by reducing the use of chemical dyes and switching to eco-friendly natural dyes.

Behind Dinanti Batik’s production facility, Dinar has created a garden where plants like noni trees, coconuts, cotton, and limes are grown. These plants are mostly used for natural dye materials and sometimes as a source of food for daily consumption. Dry wood collected from the garden is used for fire in the batik-making process, while used leaves and other organic materials from dyeing are used as compost and returned as nutrition to the soil.

Dinar Mustikowati's story is an inspiration for the younger generation. Despite challenges and a fading interest in Batik artistry, her passion never wavers. With strong community support, she continues to create and preserve Tuban’s cultural heritage.. Through Dinar’s determination, innovation, and collaboration, batik Kerek will keep shining for years to come.