Thetis Blacker Award 2023
Prepared by Ummi Junid
Batik, with its mesmerizing patterns and rich colors, has been an age-old art form cherished by art enthusiasts worldwide. Seeking to push the boundaries of this traditional craft, a distinctive project emerged in the United Kingdom, where a novel idea was born – creating batik-inspired prints using an unconventional material: tea bags.
Inspired by the Waste Age Exhibition in London during early 2022, the project took shape with the aim of questioning our responsibility as artists in giving waste a second life. Armed with the vision of transforming everyday waste materials into meaningful art, I embarked on this artistic journey.
Drawing inspiration from traditional Malaysian batik motifs, I explored the possibilities of printing batik-like patterns using a series of natural dye swatches on discarded tea bags. The endeavour was both an artistic exploration and a sustainable statement, showcasing how waste materials could be reborn as creative expressions.
Through this project, I delved into the uncharted territory of incorporating waste into the realm of art, encouraging the audience to reflect on their environmental footprint and rethink the potential of overlooked materials. By infusing tea bags with vibrant hues and intricate designs, the project conveyed a powerful message of upcycling and resourcefulness in the artistic process.