Art Detail | Ilham Gallery
Nusantara, Ledang series
Nusantara, Ledang series

Fatimah Chik has updated the batik medium for contemporary art by incorporating collage. The artist started her career making ornate batik pieces using the stamping technique that has become tradition in Kelantan and the Patani region. The offcuts from these pieces eventually inspired her to venture into collage.The contrasts of patterns and colours give the work a busy energy and a complex harmony.  In this work, the semi-translucent, watercolour-like nature of batik dye is counteracted by the strict geometric forms of her collaged pieces, which are inspired by the geometric patterns of Islamic art and architecture.  After the introduction of the National Cultural Policy in 1971 that aimed to create a national culture founded on Malay core values and cultural forms, many artists pushed their techniques towards more abstract compositions, integrating local traditional decorative and design principles, as well as motifs from Islam and the region.

Mixed media batik collage
61 × 61 cm
Credit Line:
Collection of ILHAM Foundation
© Fatimah Chik
About Fatimah Chik

Fatimah Chik (b. 1947, Johor) is an influential Malaysian batik artist who arrived at art through textile design. In 1971, she graduated among the inaugural batch of the MARA Institute of Technology’s School of Art and Design (opened in 1967) with a Bachelors in Textile Design. After graduation, she worked under fashion designer Tengku Zubaidah at the Kutang Kraft atelier and also assisted artist Ismail Zain in some of his batik works. In the 1970s, she began doing her own research into the different varieties of batik in Southeast Asia, which inspired her to delve deeper into batik as an art form. She combined her wide-ranging formal training at MARA (which included architecture and principles of Islamic art in the design curriculum) with her research in regional textiles to produce the unique style that she became celebrated for. She also left her own mark on the batik tradition by combining the relatively modern method of batik-stamping with the ancient Japanese dyeing method of Shibori.

Further Readings

Learning Section

  • Describe how the artist has used colour in this artwork. What  colours can you see? Where are they used in the work? How do these colours make you feel?