Meki Okiyasari Oyong

Meky Okiyasari from South Sumatra was raised by a mother who was a skilled songket weaver and who was active in the management of a group of rural songket weavers called Danau Karya. Meky subsequently took over her mother’s activities in the group of 16 weavers but during her involvement, found that there was little development in the group between 2002 and 2007.

In 2008, Meky took over her older sister’s business after her sister met with an accident in 2007 – this involved managing five songket weavers that had been trained by her sister. In addition, she continued collecting songket textiles from the village weavers to be sold in the city of Palembang. In 2009, she found revitalisation in this rural weaving group that she had first been involved in, due to the assistance of Cita Tenun Indonesia, headed by Ibu Oke Hatta Rajasa, which assisted in improving the quality of songket weaving in the area, and which, with the assistance of funding from Bank Negara Indonesia, constructed a weaving village in South Sumatra.

In 2010, Meky broke from the rural weaving group to focus on the five songket weavers she had been working with, rebranding the company as Meiky Songket. In 2017, she started a second brand, Galeri Songket Warna Alam, focusing on the consistent use of natural dyes for all its products. She now has 68 songket artisans working under her and is herself also active as a textile designer, motif designer and dyer. She recently revitalised the technique of ikat in the production of tenun limar, which won her a World Crafts Council – Award of Excellence in 2018. She has also won other awards in Indonesia, including INACRAFT and Dekranas awards, and has participated in exhibitions both in Indonesia as well as overseas in Southeast Asia (including WITS 2018 in Khon Kaen) and in Turkey.