Gallery Gerimis: one-stop centre in KL for Orang Asli arts and culture


A close-up of Leny Maknoh's Portrait Of Temuan Girl' (graphite and colour pencil on paper, 2021). Photo: Leny Maknoh

Question: where can you find Orang Asli craft, books and artworks, as well as info about their culture and traditions in the heart of Kuala Lumpur?

A quick Google search will point you to the soon-to-be launched Gallery Gerimis, a one-stop Orang Asli resource hub and art space at the GMBB mall in KL.

Gerimis Art Project (Gerimis), an Orang Asli arts and archiving initiative, has opened the gallery to hold exhibitions, workshops, and cultural events and consolidate Orang Asli-related information in one space.

“We want to bring you what is otherwise remote by giving you a better insight into the world we experience with the Orang Asli," says Wendi Sia, Gerimis co-founder.

“It's not a space where you'll merely learn about Orang Asli, but also where we hope you can connect with them, through stories or matters that are close to their hearts, which are presented in the form of art installations,” she adds.

'Mad Weave' unmasks the craftswomen behind craft-making. It is one of the book projects available from Gerimis. Photo: Gerimis Art Project'Mad Weave' unmasks the craftswomen behind craft-making. It is one of the book projects available from Gerimis. Photo: Gerimis Art Project

During the two-day launch event on November 27 and 28 (11.30am onwards), get a first look at Gallery Gerimis with guided tours, watch a Semai tribe storytelling session and a dance performance by Orang Asli group Luheiw Renaweij, and visit six booths featuring Orang Asli artisanal products and craft.

Leny Maknoh, a Temuan hyperreal pencil artist, will also be showcasing her latest graphite and colour pencil artworks at the gallery, which took nearly eight months to put together.

Marina Apeng, from Kampung Orang Asli Sungei Buloh (Selangor), will also be presenting Orang Asli food tasting sessions over the weekend, introducing staple foods such as casssava, cassava leaves, salted fish, bamboo shoots and rice and chicken cooked in bamboo.

Gallery Gerimis is neatly divided into one main gallery, a seasonal gallery and a resource centre.

The main gallery, a permanent section of the gallery, will feature a two-part installation titled Below The Root.

Perak-based Luheiw Renaweij, a musical dance troupe that features Orang Asli traditional musical instruments and sewang dance.Perak-based Luheiw Renaweij, a musical dance troupe that features Orang Asli traditional musical instruments and sewang dance.

“This section shares the many stories and conversations we have had with our Orang Asli friends over the years of doing our project, and why it matters that we keep these conversations alive,” says Sia, a researcher/copywriter.

The seasonal gallery, conversely, will feature works that are changed every three to six months. Currently, Simetri Kelarai, an installation of mixed-patterned mats, sits here.

Finally, the resource centre, a space to read books and hold discourses. Crafts collected from various tribes across Peninsular Malaysia will also be on display.

Orang Asli food tasting sessions will also be presented over the weekend, introducing staple foods such as casssava, cassava leaves, salted fish, bamboo shoots and rice and chicken cooked in bamboo. Photo: Gerimis Art ProjectOrang Asli food tasting sessions will also be presented over the weekend, introducing staple foods such as casssava, cassava leaves, salted fish, bamboo shoots and rice and chicken cooked in bamboo. Photo: Gerimis Art Project

Gallery Gerimis will be active in the coming months, with several projects already in the works, including a solo exhibition by Leny Maknoh, a screening of works created by Orang Asal creators under the SEM/ALAM Art Lab, a photography exhibition by Seletar photographer Jefree Salim and Semai photographer Ronnie Bahari, and other art showcases.

Gerimis, founded in 2018 by Sia and illustrator Sebastian Heng, works directly with Orang Asli communities to co-create products and creative programmes that provide sustainability to its makers.

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