Fragments of old Timorese ikat, machine-sewn together
Cotton and polyester, and some of the ikat has natural dyes
Purchased 2012 from Yosim Gallery, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Anne and John Summerfield Textile Study Collection
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery, College of the Holy Cross
The arts and tourism town of Ubud in Bali has textile products for all tastes and markets, from cheap cotton t-shirts for travelers to upscale high fashions in silk to leisure wear in Javanese batik. In 2012 fieldwork for the exhibition, the curator and student docents found that one Ubud shop (the Yosim Gallery) was selling this beguiling if odd product: a man’s formal, long-sleeved shirt made of patchwork pieces of old ikat sarongs and cloaks from Timor. The ikat used here is of very high quality but has apparently been taken from old and much-used pieces, much as one might stitch together a quilt from fragments of old clothes. This shirt (not a shy piece) also sports bright green fabric down its front and green cuffs. Across the yoke in the back: twined fringe, from some old piece of ikat.
For sale in the tropics to travelers there, this shirt does seem to be rather heavy weight and hot. Would the fringe element attract buyers or make them laugh? Could this item be a fashion misfire, in contrast to the quick-selling endek cocktail dress, shown elsewhere in the gallery? This shirt was designed and sewn in either Timor Leste or West Timor, with Bali’s tourism market in mind, according to Yosim Gallery staff.