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rossing both visible and invisible boundaries of nationality-ethnic background, the traditional-the contemporary, art-craft Agus Ismoyo (Indonesian) and Nia Fliam (American) have been working collaboratively to produce contemporary textiles in their fine art batik studio, Brahma Tirta Sari in Yogyakarta, Indonesia since 1985. Ismoyo’s ancestors were batik makers in the court city of Solo in Java. He was trained in industrial management at the Industrial Academy (AKPRIND) in Yogyakarta. Nia originally explored dye resist techniques from Africa and Asia in America. She completed her fine arts degree at Pratt Institute in New York City before coming to Indonesia in 1983 to study traditional batik.

‘This collaborative art team is renowned for their intricate, nuanced and time-intensive contemporary fine art textiles. They have exhibited at many prestigious exhibitions around the world and worked with world distinguished curators. Since 1994 they have explored and worked in collaboration with Australian Aboriginals, American Indians and various Asian and Australian artists, They have received critical acclaim for their successful use of traditional textile techniques in exploring their own realm of creativity while pursuing an understanding of the value, role and meaning of tradition in the development of our world culture.’ Christine Cocca, Antenna Projects, Yogyakarta Indonesia.

When Ismoyo and Nia founded their studio, they were committed to exploring the rich lessons of traditional Indonesian art both in terms of technique as well as symbolism. Beyond the creative process and symbols of these ancient techniques they have found an unending rich source of inspiration in an ever expansive journey of artistic discovery.

Through this artistic collaboration, they have been exploring the rich traditional root of the ancient batik textile tradition of Indonesia. Their studio produces not only fine art batik and paintings but a range of wearable art products and craft as art interior items. Brahma Tirta Sari (BTS), which means ‘creativity is the source of all knowledge’, was founded on the belief that there are many relevant traditions rooted in cultures throughout the world. Brahma Tirta Sari is a division of the Culture House Babaran Segaragunung which Ismoyo, Nia and Pang Warman founded to support their exploration of traditional cultures, in order to understand basic cultural principles, that go beyond any political intentions; which can guide us through an artistic process that builds the spirit as a whole human being.

Regarding their own work Ismoyo and Nia explain:

“Our world culture is, in fact, one and has arisen from the strength of ‘budi’ or human intelligence and the spirit of humankind motivates this intelligence. This spirit is the oneness or unity we speak of. In any creative work, an awareness of our position within its framework is of utmost importance. With this in mind, it is our commitment in our creative work, to devote ourselves to the work of the spirit in exploring aspects of the heritage of our world culture and its role in the shaping of contemporary culture. At the heart of it our ancient cultural traditions are the roadmap of the future.”


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