Indonesia is one of the top tourist destinations for Australia with over 900 00 Australian’s travelling there in 2013 but it wasn’t always like this. I spoke to Kaye Quiney, founder of Ozzie Mozzie Nets, a homeware and bed linen company on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, who has been visiting Indonesia since the 1970’s. She has watched the country transform over the years as Western influence has made it’s mark.
Kaye first visited Bali in 1973 when the only others making this journey were surfers embarking on the ‘hippy trail’ through South-East Asia. Kuta was nothing but a village with accommodation costing no more that $1 a day and meals costing 50 cents. The luxuries that you would now find were non-existent; you bathed from a small basin and slept under sarongs. It was a magical place to be as it was so far removed from Western Culture. Kaye visited Bali twice more in the 70’s, bringing back batik sarongs which she would use as fabric to create drawstring pants, bolsters and other small things that she would sell at Spring St Gallery in Chatswood.
(Left: Kaye featured in Vogue in 1982 with the start of the brand Right: Kaye’s Kimonos made in Bali from contemporary Batik fabrics. Images from https://www.facebook.com/mozzienets/photos_stream)
Kaye didn’t visit Bali again until the 90’s and within the space of only a decade Western Influence had started to creep into the country with familiar shops popping up and resorts being built. “I was just weeping, Bali was unrecognisable” (Quiney, 2015). The untouched paradise that she once knew was starting to transform into the tourist destination that it now is today. This act of globalisation had many effects on the local paradigm, Western influence triggered a change not only on the visual aspect of the community but on the beliefs and attitudes of the Balinese people. Resulting in many of their art forms changing and adapting to this new worldview. Batik resist dying started to break away from the traditional motifs and new patterns started to appear. “The culture that emerges reflects interaction with various interlocutors” (Hitchcock, date unknown)
Dispite Kaye’s initial dismay at the rapid rate of change and homogonisation in Indonesia she continued visiting Bali as her business grew, bringing back boxes of beautiful fabrics to be sold as sarongs and used in her own creations. In the early 2000’s she started manufacturing her own clothes in Bali. She took over vintage patterns of clothing she was selling at Paddington markets in the 70’s and had them made in contemporary batik fabrics. Some of these fabrics created by a Balinese woman who, through this act of globalisation, had become partners with a French woman. Together they create wonderful contemporary batik fabrics with a mixture of influences from around the world.
Michael Hitchcock, date unknown, Bali: A Paradise Globalised, IIAS, London, viewed 7 May 2015, <http://www.iias.nl/iiasn/19/theme/6.html>
Angela Saurine, Lisa Cornish, 2013, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows Australians took a record number of overseas trips in the past year, News.Com, Australia, Viewed 7 May 2015 < http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/australian-bureau-of-statistics-data-shows-australians-took-a-record-number-of-overseas-trips-in-the-past-year/story-e6frfq80-1226690392522>
Interview with Kaye Quiney, May 2015