Saturday, August 01, 2009

[media-bali] Artist melds African, Indonesian influences


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Artist melds African, Indonesian influences

Zimbabwe native captivated by the process of batik
by Lindsay Whitehurst 
The Salt Lake Tribune

http://www.sltrib. com/ci_12932420?source=rss 

Lewis Chidziva was a Zimbabwean high school student when he learned about batik, the Indonesian art of creating images on fabric using melted wax and dye. 

During the next 16 years, as he grew up and moved to Utah for college, he perfected his own style of batik, incorporating vibrant colors and scenes inspired by his homeland. 

He will bring his hybrid of tropical and African influences to the Bountiful/Davis Summerfest International, where he'll be a featured artist. 

The festival starts Aug. 6 and runs through Aug. 8 at the Bountiful City Park, located at the northeast corner of 400 North and 200 West. 

"His work is reflective of African traditions and culture, and that's what makes it unique," said Bountiful Arts Center executive director Emma Dugal. "He considers himself a cultural ambassador who is able to share his talent with people from all over." 

Chidziva starts each piece by sketching a scene or pattern on paper and testing his colors on a strip of cotton fabric. After planning the pattern and colors, he starts to work, melting a mixture of paraffin and beeswax in a pot. He then paints hot wax onto both sides of the cotton fabric, then submerges it in the dye. 

The waxed parts stay undyed. After the sheet dries, he paints again with the wax, then dyes the rest of the fabric a new color. He repeats the process five to seven times, depending on the piece. The fabric changes with each successive immersion as the colors layer to create new hues. 

The images are different each time because the hot wax dries and cracks differently when it cools on contact with the cold dye. 

"You can never duplicate it," he said. "You will never be able to get the different colors and the different cracked lines." 

After the dyeing is finished, he layers the fabric with newsprint and melts off the wax with a hot iron. 

Each piece takes several weeks to a few months to complete. Chidziva, a recent graduate from the MBA program at Westminster College, works on his art during his time off from an internship at 

"It's a long process but it's a fun, creative process," Chidziva said. "It's fun to see the way it comes out." 

In addition to Chidziva and other visual artists, the Summerfest International will also feature musical dance groups from China, Romania, South Korea, Hungary, Poland, and Spain. 

The festival starts Aug. 5 with a street dancing event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

Three blocks on historic Main Street in Bountiful will be closed to traffic so the dance groups can perform, then get the audience involved. The festival continues with international food booths, performances and ends Aug. 8. 

Chidziva's work will be on display at Bountiful Arts Center, located at 745 S. Main Street, through Aug. 28. 

For more information about the artists or the festival, visit 

Remus Mark A. Carballo
Quezon City, Metro Manila

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