Representation of the Social Dynamics of Ex-Localization Communities in Doll’s Batik, Surabaya


Since the 1960s the largest prostitution area in Southeast Asia has been located in the Dolly-Jarak borough, Putat Jaya urban village, Sawahan sub-distict, Surabaya City, Indonesia. The Surabaya City Government officially declared the borough closed on June 18, 2014. Ending the prostitution business not only requires this closure but must be accompanied by an impactful and sustainable alternative professions for those involved. Training provided by the government includes making snacks, herbal drinks, crafts, fashion products, household products, sewing and batik. Since 2014, Batik SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) have increased significantly owing to demand from housewives since UNESCO declared batik as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on October 2, 2009. Every region in Indonesia competes to produce unique batik motifs representing the identities of their respective communities. This includes the Dolly-Jarak village, Sawahan sub-distict, which has a unique motif. Since 2014 the butterfly motif with its various variants has dominated batik in the region of Dolly’s ex-localization. This research was conducted in February-July 2019 with the aim of finding out the meaning of Dolly’s unique batik motifs which became the visual dialectic of Dolly’s ex-localization residents with their social problems. Visual methodology (Gillian Rose) becomes the method of analysis, especially in the area “site of image it self“ and “the site of the production”. The researcher acts as an interpreter of the batik motifs based on the theory of design of visual communication. The visual sorting process produces meaning, which is analysed using Barthes’ semiotics and associated with the socio-cultural context in which batik is produced. This research produced (1) the symbolic meaning of the butterfly motif, (2) the symbolic meaning of the colors that dominated batik in the Dolly’s ex-localization, and (3) the butterfly as a symbol of hope and a better future for Dolly’s residents. Through this research, we can find out about the future hopes of Dolly“s village after the closure of the localization.

Keywords: Dolly’s Ex-localization, Batik, Butterflies, Visual Methodology, Barthes Semiotics

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