News & Happenings

WAK2018: Borneo Bengkel

Borneo Bengkel opened over the weekend with the whole session opening a hive of activities in regards to the rich heritage of Sarawak.

Some of the displays at Borneo Bengkel.

Running until Oct 22, Borneo Bengkel is currently held at Kuching’s first creative arts hub, HAUS KCH.

Technically Borneo Bengkel is like an arts festival which intends to introduce and educate the masses of Sarawak culture.

There’s plenty to see and do with some workshops open for free to the public, and others needing at the door fees.

I arrived in time for the Ezra’s workshop which was all about the famed Sape. The Sape is an Orang Ulu musical instrument that is synonym with Sarawak and is gaining popularity worldwide due to it’s sweet infectious tunes.

Ezra doing carving on the sape

During the workshop, Ezra carved one of his sape with very specific tribal designs and explained what each design meant.

It was intriguing to learn about the carvings and the meanings as I understood they actually carried weight towards what the Sape represented.

Nearby, some ladies were learning a Orang Ulu traditional dance with their coach keenly showing off his skills much to the delight of those attending.

Borneo Bengkel
The Orang Ulu dance workshop

Moving around the site, I realized that there’s also an exhibition called “People of the land’ on-going with some very interesting art work. I’m not good at describing art, so let the photos below do the talking.

Moving on, there was also an introduction to silk-screen t-shirt making with some very interesting t-shirt designs.

Personally, this was a very useful workshop as custom made t-shirts are getting popular these days and the ones I saw, being heavily linked to Sarawak were simply perfect.

Other notable workshops I also managed to check out are the Orang Asal Woven Art, the Bidayuh Bracelet Beading, the Tuak Making Workshop and the Hand Potrait Workshop. The ful list of events happening during Borneo Bengkel’s 14 October day can be seen below.

At the ground floor of HAUS KCH was the Tamu Art market which had a variety of local traditional art, and food.

I was made to understand that HAUS KCH just recently moved to this place and I find their effort to make use of the space at their disposal very much welcoming.

Their ability to bring something like Borneo Bengkel, which highlights Sarawak culture and arts just made the whole event very much worthwhile to visit although I must admit that you would need a full one day to enjoy all.

Art exhibition

The local traditional fusion concerts was also very interesting as they featured names like Pinanak Sentah, Nading Rhadsopy and At Adau.

The only thing bad about Borneo Bengkel is that it had to end by 9PM because had it been longer, more people would really get to experience it.

//Reported by Kim and editing by Cyril Dason


Cyril Dason

Cyril Dason was born and currently lives in Kuching. He loves jungle trekking, clean rivers and chilling out with friends.

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