Jakarta Globe — Indonesian artists have recently claimed the international art limelight, with their works center stage at high-profile exhibitions including the Venice Biennale, Art Basel in Hong Kong and Art Stage Singapore.
Dispelling fears that interest may have already peaked, last week world-famous design company Louis Vuitton revealed its “Giant Textile,” a 1.8-square-meter shawl designed by Indonesian contemporary artist Eko Nugroho. “We’re delighted with this special collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Eko Nugroho,” said Jean-Baptiste Debains, president of Louis Vuitton Asia Pacific. “This also highlights our appreciation [for] the creativity of Indonesian artists.”
In 2011, Louis Vuitton featured the works of 11 Indonesian contemporary artists, including Eko, in an exhibition themed “Trans-Figurations: Indonesian Mythologies” at its boutique in Paris.Over the year that followed, Louis Vuitton presented “Fantasy Islands,” a group exhibition of Indonesian artists again including Eko, in boutiques in Hong Kong and Singapore.
This year, the French fashion house is working with international artists on scarf designs. For the fall/winter 2013 scarf collection, it collaborated with Eko as well as British street artist Ben Eine, French-Tunisian artist “eL Seed.” “Frankly, I don’t know how they chose me,” said Eko, 36, who was last year asked to work with Louis Vuitton.
“I didn’t say ‘yes,’ straight away,” he recalled. “I really had to think about it because I’m not a textile designer.” Eko’s artistic works are generally comics, murals, paintings and videos. He ultimately agreed to take on the project because he believed it was a new challenge and rare opportunity for him. For the scarf’s design, Eko created two oil paintings within six months.
Louis Vuitton chose one of Eko’s paintings and produced it as a scarf. “They gave me freedom to experiment and express my talents as an artist, and I truly respect them for that,” Eko said. He also had the right to approve the final design, which he named “Republik Tropis,” before it went into production. “Indonesia is a tropical republic,” Eko said. “It’s a country rich in flora, fauna, arts and traditions and I’ve tried to encapsulate all that in my design.”
The square silk scarf features a circular mythical figure at the center. It looks like a giant crab’s claw consisting of Indonesian fruits and vegetables, including pineapples, dragon fruits and cassava leaves, as well as ocean reefs and sea shells. Among the flora and fauna in the mythical figure is a pair of masked male and female faces. Click here for more www.jakartaglobe.com