POST A: How does local context and cultural sensitive shape design?

Design is shaped by the needs, desires, cultural customs, religions and ideologies that determine a local context. This was recently brought to my attention when I had to redesign an appropriate method to write text on the forearms of people in Banjarmasin, Indonesia. The design was resolved through the utilisation of hijab arm covers, due the predominantly Muslim population. The design of female clothing in Indonesia must consider these needs and embody religious practices and the liberation, justice and freedom, (The Conversation, 2017) that Indonesian Muslim women recently want to represent in their choice of clothing. Changes in social and political contexts have occurred through the work of organisations such as the Muslim Women’s agency, which represent a vibrant network of intellectual women that are independent and vocal in their ideologies. This has resulted in differing fashion and textiles design and has recently become a rapidly growing industry.

Design is shaped by local context and this is clear when looking at the work of Dian Pelangi, a young Indonesian fashion designer who collections comprise of hijabs, culturally sensitive design and traditional batik patterns. These designs embody the needs, desires, cultural customs, religions and ideologies of the local context. When her designs were showcased at Jakarta Fashion Week people from outside this local context were able to understand how her experiences and surroundings have shapes her design practice. This can also be said for Restu Anggraini, who is a designer “known for her contemporary, modern, clean and modest designs” (A.W. Wibowo, 2017)  according to Indonesia Tatler. In 2016 she represented Indonesia at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival. This same event featured contemporary Australian Aboriginal designers, that represent their indigenous culture and conceptualise their local context. The colours and motifs represented the stories of the dreamtime and captured the history and present of Indigenous culture.This one event gave distinctly different designers, from distinctly different local contexts, the opportunity to showcase their needs, desires, cultural customs, religions and ideologies. One of the designers were Cynthia Vogler, whose work features printed skirts created through mixes of her own dyes. Similarly to Restu Anggraini, she utilizes batik dyeing techniques a process, involving using hot wax to block out sections of the fabric before it is embedment into the dye.

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 12.37.11 PM
Restu Anggraini’s designs Indonesia Tatler, 2017, Ramadan Fashion: 8 Indonesian Muslim Fashion Designers In The Spotlight, viewed 25 January 2018,
Cynthia Vogler (right) and her daughter wearing her designs (left) K. Vlasic, 2015, Cairns emerging fashion designer Cynthia Vogler experiments with printing techniques with amazing results, viewed 25 January 2018,

Both of these designers utilize similar manufacturing processes and means of abstracting inspiration for the design of their motifs, however both women are from different local contexts. Across the world design reveals similarity, as we gather inspiration and knowledge from one and other, however design also reveals distinctive contrasts that showcase our differences. It is clear how their personal understandings translate into their designs and how by learning about their backgrounds, we are able to see how design is truly shaped by local context.

Reference List

A.R. Beta, 2014, ‘Hijabers: How young urban muslim women redefine themselves in Indonesia’ International Communication Gazette, Vol.76, iss.4-5, pp.377-389.

E.F. Amrullah, 2008, ‘Indonesian Muslim Fashion Styles & Designs’, ISIM Review, vol. 22, pp 22-23.

Indonesia Tatler, 2017, Ramadan Fashion: 8 Indonesian Muslim Fashion Designers In The Spotlight, viewed 25 January 2018,

N.Hossain, R.Nurbani, V.Utari, W.Suharyo, ‘Social, economic and political context in Indonesia’, Interactions Eldis, viewed 25 January 2018,

The Culture Concept Circle, 2016, Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival- Indigenous Art, viewed 25 January 2018,

The Conversation, 2017, Indonesian Muslim women engage with feminism, viewed 25 January 2018,


Post C: Understanding smoking from a different perspective

It was clear from secondary research that Banjarmasin had distinctly different behaviors and cultural customs in relation to smoking cigarettes. However, this understanding was from a generalised and distance viewpoint. On the 13th of January 2018, we were lucky enough to visit a university in Banjarmasin called Universitas Lambung Mangkurat. I sat down with Dwii Astuti, a 21 year old student who is currently studying primary education. With her passion for the well being of young children in correlation with her experiences in this area, she was eager to discuss her thoughts on anti smoking campaigning. Astuti was visibly excited to learn about the work that we were doing here in Banjarmasin and revealed to me about her personal struggle of having a father heavily smokes around her. When a sense of excitement in her voice, she stated “I think you program is very good. I am very happy that you are have come to Banjarmasin and i hope that you can change smoking here” As she elaborated is become clear just how well educated most of the youth in Banjarmasin are about the danger of smoking, yet they continue to do so and risk their health.

From the overlapping conversations that surroundings us, the desire for change became unignorable. Astuti questioned our plans however, when she stated “What you’re doing is very hard. I have never tried to talk someone out of smoking because I know they don’t want to listen. They know that it is dangerous for their health.” Contrasting ideologies begun to surface, as from an outsider’s viewpoint it seemed like perhaps smoking education was the issue, to which I then questioned, that maybe the methods of communication were at the centre of the problem. In an area in which most people aren’t erger to listen about lifestyles that contrast their own, it would be extremely difficult to initiate conversations in everyday live. Astuti elborates on her challenges fighting against the smoking lifestyle that surrounds her, she states “I try to move away from people that are smoking but when I can’t I just have to cover my face. It’s dangerous for us as passive smoker.” This sparked an engaging discussion on anti smoking campaigning and how perhaps targeting the effects that on passive smokers endure, could be a more powerful message. This is evident in Vital Strategies “Indonesia anti-tobacco campaign-Ike” and shows the kind of persuasive design that Indonesia responses to. (Vital Strategies, 2017)

The interview ventured back to more of a personal conversation, as Astuti revealed her fathers personal struggle with smoking. “My father says that smoking is bad for our health, so he stops for a one or day and then goes back to smoking again. The father’s will protect their children but will be smoking at the same time.” This opened up discussions on smoking in correlation with masculinity and people’s motivations to stop smoking. From this experience interviewing Astuti, it became clear that changes needs to be made in the communication of smoking campaigns. Our design ideas for the mural, was positively reassured as the design acknowledges that a large amount of people smoke in Banjarmasin, however it alternative shows them a way out in which they can reduce the health implications.

Reference List:

Ng, L. Wweinehall, A. Ohman, 2006, ‘If I don’t smoke, I’m not a real man’, Indonesian teenage boys’ views about smoking’, Health Education Research, Vol 22, Iss. 6, pp. 794–804.

Nichter, M. Nichter, R. Siwi Padmawati, N. Ng, 2010, ‘Developing a smoke free household initiative: an Indonesian case study’, Vol 84, Iss. 4, pp 578-581.

Yoga Aditama, 2002, ‘Smoking problem in Indonesia’ Medical Journal of Indonesia, Vol 11, Iss. 1, pp. 56-65.

Vital Strategies 2017, Indonesia anti-tobacco campaign- Ike, video recording, Youtube, viewed 20 January 2018, <>.


Post B: How can we end the smoking epidemic whilst raising money for cancer patients?

“Give up for Good” is a collaborative initiative with creative agency Up & Up and Singapore Cancer Society. This initiative is working towards a smoke-free Singapore, by designing a exchange system where people give up one of their cigarettes for the support of Cancer patients and their families. Each cigarette is valued at 0.60 cents, to which corporates match the value and disrupt necessities to patients. The cigarettes were totalled on the 3rd of December 2016, which was named “Give up for Good Day”. This event and the collection process as a whole, was a success and made the community think about the dangers of smoking and waste of money and resources. However, due to the location of the event being the Bugis shopping district in Singapore limited people were able to attend the event. The would have been a challenging factor, however it effects were spread on social media. By collaborating with Up & Up the initiative has now made collections with a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable company. Although “Give up for Good” was recently launched, these associations will provide a pathway for throughout design exploration.

What made this initiative successful was it understood the psychology of the people evolved. By designing a method that breaks away from traditional usual frightening smoking campaigns. Managing director, Up & Up Anand A Vathiyar states “Give up for Good treats smokers with consideration and engages them directly. It demonstrates the power of choice that smokers have with every stick of cigarette.” (Rao M 2016) This shows the power that this methodology has and the importance that minor challenges have, when working to a smoke-free Singapore. There were not major failures, however some people didn’t want to give up their cigarettes and were somewhat defensive. Even though more cigarettes were collected when expected, this was still a small amount of product/money. Due to the dedication of the volunteers and the ethically sound practices of the organisations evolved, there were no interventions. Singapore as a nation is working towards a more health and environmentally conscious society, which means that a significant amount of its citizens respond well to these design initiatives.

This initiative utilises the benefits of working within a transdisciplinary team. Singapore Cancer Society having working on numerous design initiative in the past such as “Designated smokers areas”and “Ashtray”. Meaning that the organisation knows how Singapore is currently responding better to less graphics methods of communications. By working with Up & Up they combined this knowledge with the agency’s understanding for marketing and education. These skills in correlation with the passion and interpersonal skills of the volunteers, meant that the initiative explored the vast impossibilities and benefits of transdisciplinary design. It follows a bottoms-up approachas it stems from a configurations of quantitative data on smoking and research into how the negative effects of cigarettes could be turned into positive interactions in order to make change. By using an analytical intelligence path, they were able to predict the reactions of the participants. Despite the organisations involved being influential, the initiative would not have been a reality within the support and volunteers within the community, which stems from the same ideologies. This initiative was run by volunteers and sponsors (Citrus Events & Communication, Lotte Pepero, Pokka Singapore, Nicorette and Honestbee), however it can’t be labeled as a not-for-profit as the funding also supports the creative agency evolved and the management team in the Singapore Cancer Society.

info graphics
An info graphic that I created to represent my research on this design initiative

Reference List:

Rao, M. 2016, ‘Singapore cancer society breaks away from the usual scary smoking campaigns’ Marketing-interactive, 06 December, viewed 10 December 2017, <>.

Give Up for Good 2017, HomePage, viewed 10 December 2017, <>

Research Division, Institute of mental health, 2012 ‘Smoking and nicotine dependence in Singapore: findings from a cross-sectional epidemiology study.’ Ann Acad Med Singapore, vol. 41, iss 8, viewed 10 December 2017, <>

Leow, J, 2017 ‘The Challenges, Emotions, Coping and Gains of Family Caregivers for Patients with Advanced Cancer in Singapore: A Qualitative Study.’ Cancer Nursing, vol 40. Iss 1, viewed 10 December 2017 <,_Emotions,_Coping,_and_Gains_of.3.aspx>

Kim, J, Cao, X, Meczkowski, E, 2017. ‘Does Stigmatization Motivate People to Quit Smoking? Examining the Effect of Stigmatizing Anti-Smoking Campaigns on Cessation Intention’ vol 0. Iss. 0, viewed 10 December 2017, <>


Post D: Indonesian Art Practices and their Geographical Context

How does Indonesian art practices change according to the geographical context of the artisan.

Indonesian art practices stem from similar ideologies and cultural complexities, however when examining these practice in relation to different geographical contexts, variations occurred. Art practices within the local area of Banjarmasin, focused heavily on cultural events and activities and utilised art in order to express and explore these. This is evident through the large amount of motorboats are decorated for the Tanglong Jukung Competitors. The highly decorative embellishments bring a cultural significance to the event, as they create a sense of wonder within the Banjarmasin neighbourhood. Colour symbolism is used as the boats contain ornamental lights that reflect the Tanlong dipanjali colours. The practice of creating specific culturally aware art is also explored through the practice of Sasirangan, which is a traditional fabric colouring art form, that results in range of unique and abstract patterns. The colourful and vibrant designs that are created are reflective of Banjarmasin culture. With advances in textiles technologies, the designs are now produced on advanced textiles with over 30 patterns. These are sold within the Banjarmasin regions, however are also sold externally. There are a range of motifs that are created on the designs, that emphasise their cultural significance and help communicate to the people that aren’t familiar with their culture.

This illustration is a visually representation of Indonesian art practices. Each row embodies a different geographical area e.g. international, national, Regional and Local art practices.

Cultural art practices in the region of Kalimantan begin to be more focused on a tourism based mind set, as their creation are often what makes people travel there. The relationship between tourism and art production in Kalimantan relies on the continual developments of both aspects of the culture. By creating art or souvenirs that reflect key aspects of Indonesian culture, often with a spiritual meaning, tourist are able to take a piece of culture home with them. However, these are often very inexpensive for these tourist, which creates an uneven exchange for the handcrafted wood carvings, masks or clothing. When tourist coming to Kalimantan have respect for the art practices of the locals, their creations can be better valued. This means that the relationship and economics within the cultural exchange can be strengthened.

On a holistic level art in Indonesia is known for its diversity, due to the different regions and ethics within the national that shape the visual styles that each artisan creates. This is evident in the stone sculptures that capture the Hindu believes in Java. The same can be said for villages in Java that create ceramic with reference to the Majapahit kingdom. This results in Indonesia being a country that embodies the cultural diversities within the vast archipelago. Religion has a strong influence on Indonesian art, approximately 82% of the Indonesian population is Islamic, which means that a vast majority of traditional art practices are created with spiritual intend. This is represented through Islamic- style geometric forms and Arabic calligraphy. This enables people to reflect upon Indonesian art with interested and investments, as they values its cultural significance.

Artisans are now practiced all across the world and and combine their traditional culture and understandings with key influences of their current surroundings. In 2017 a number of Indonesian artists such as Putu Edy Asmara and Erizal AS. participated in the Beijing International Art Biennale, where they got to communicate their art practice with those that might be unfamiliar with Indonesian culture and express how geographical context shapes an individual’s art practice.

This map shows the relationship between Indonesian art practices with geographical context. The key communicates the diverse art practices within these areas.

Reference List:

Taylor, P.M. 1994, Fragile Traditions: Indonesian Art In Jeopardy, University of Hawaii Pr, Hawaii.

Clark, J. 2010, Modern And Contemporary Asian Art, Department of Art History & Film Studies, R.C. Mills A26, University of Sydney, Sydney.

Patt, J.A. 1979, ‘The Use And Symbolism Of Water In Ancient Indonesian Art And Architecture’ Science Index, 0729 – Architecture, viewed 4 December 2017, <;

Setianingsih, P., ‘The Voice of Muted People in modern Indonesian Art’ Modern Indonesian Art Pre 1996, Thesis, viewed December 4 2017 <>

Indonesian Arts and Crafts 2017, Arts and HandiCrafts, Viewed 4 December 2017, <>

Facts and Details 2017, Indonesian Art, Arts, Culture, Media, Sports, viewed December 4 2017, <;