Ann Dunham’s Legacy: a Collection of Indonesian Batiks

8 June 2012 – 20 July 2012

 The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (IAMM) and the Embassy of the United States in Kuala Lumpur are pleased to present – “Ann Dunham’s Legacy: A Collection of Indonesian Batiks,” an exhibition that will showcase 20 batiks from the private collection of Ann Dunham, President Obama’s mother. The launch of the exhibition by Ann Dunham’s daughter, Dr Maya Soetoro-Ng, will mark the first time that the collection will be exhibited outside the United States.

This unique collection of batiks was put together in the 1960s and 70s by Ann Dunham, after she moved to Indonesia with her husband and son Barack Obama. During her time there, as a scholar and anthropologist, she helped women in the local craft industry through micro credit and small enterprises. She also developed a deep interest in batik and the lives of batik makers.

The pieces she collected were acquired from both bustling city streets and quiet villages, and while the batiks were neither rare nor expensive, they reflect the daily lives of the people around her at the time and represent an enduring textile tradition. Looking at the vibrant colours and motifs of Indonesian batiks, it is easy to see how they can capture the imagination. Steeped in tradition and yet readily embracing modernity, batiks encompass diversity and unity all in one.

In addition to a special focus on the life and work of Ann Dunham, the exhibition will also delve into: the history of batik, how it is made, worn and collected, as well as its alluring array of patterns and motifs. The exhibition will be further enhanced by the addition of several mementoes from Ann Dunham’s personal collection, as well as ten Indonesian batiks from the IAMM collection. As this is a collection unlike any other, the exhibition is an opportunity not to be missed!.

To commemorate the exhibition, the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia is also producing a 120-page exhibition catalogue entitled Ann Dunham’s Legacy: A Collection of Indonesian Batik. The exhibition will be on display in Special Gallery 1 at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia from 8th June – 20th July 2012.

*Publication for the exhibition is available at the Museum Shop, please click here for more information.

Ann Dunham Legacy_Cover.pdf

ann dunham