A man with a big smile stands by the entrance of this museum located on Armenian Street – which has no sign or proclamation on what the building holds other than his friendly big smile – and ushered us with a, “come on in to the Batik Painting Museum. We have just opened recently”. Sandwiched between the colonial buildings of yesteryears, he tells us that the entrance fee is RM5 per pax. Regardless of it being FOC or not, he and the building have already captured my full attention.
We pay RM10 and each receives a postcard (one of my favourite things in this world) and a pamphlet. In it is written, “the museum aims to tell the historical story of how this art form began in the 1950’s and its subsequent development” by talented artists in Malaysia. Indeed, one key artist is Chuah Then Teng with many of his artworks on display. He had “combined his artistic talents with batik making skills to create fine works of art.”
In all honesty, I have no idea that batik painting could be made into such distinctive pieces. Batik had always reminded of over-colourful attires that serve to distract in the classroom. It was mandatory for teachers to wear Batik on Thursday/Friday when I was still in school – they were a combination of awkwardness, ugly regality and a tradition I did not try to understand. In this three floored museum though, batik opened my eyes into a world I love – art. Every batik artwork that is hung here is a marvel on its own.
If you think this space is not worth the RM5 fee, you are terribly misled.