Where there’s a will, there’s a way. For Sabah-based art collective Pangrok Sulap, the mission to help out and empower local communities has been a tireless one.
To start off the year, Pangrok Sulap has released 10 editions of a fund-raising artwork titled Cahaya Kehidupan (or Living Light), which are available now. All proceeds from this sale will go towards the funding of a mini hydroelectric generator that will benefit 27 households in Kampung Penulangon, a village located in the Trusmadi forest reserve in Ranau, Sabah.
Most of the people in this village rely on limited solar panels and generator sets for basic electrical needs.
Cahaya Kehidupan is a woodcut print (1.2mx2.4m) on blackout fabric. In March last year, Pangrok Sulap travelled to Kampung Penulangon to produce this collaborative artwork with the villagers, with the aim of fundraising for a mini hydroelectric system. The community – young and old – turned up in droves each day to be a part of this project.
“It narrates the process of installing a hydroelectric generator, from the water source all the way to the electrical wires bringing light to houses. The artwork also captures the life and daily routine of the villagers, featuring activities such as farming, planting rice and school-going kids walking long distances to get to school,” reads a description about this community-based artwork.
“In addition, translated into the work is the daily routine of the villagers (such as farming, planting hill paddy), historical documentation as well as significant events that have occurred, and the realities of the village children who are forced to walk as far as 7km for schooling in the nearest village.”
Cahaya Kehidupan was first exhibited at the Ilham Art Show 2022, Ilham Gallery’s first open call art show last year.
Last November, Pangrok Sulap kick-started the fund-raising project for Kampung Penulangon with a limited edition art and CD box set Orang Kampung, which was supported by Goethe Institut Kuala Lumpur.
The box set features a folk-based setlist performed by Pangrok Sulap members, including tunes such as Orang Kampung, Erosi Rakyat Aramaiti and Merdeka-kah Kita. It also contains an A3 poster, liner notes, lyrics and assorted keepsakes (a button, sticker), making it a handsome bundle. At present, Pangrok Sulap has raised RM15,000, but it will need a total of RM75,000 for the Kampung Penulangon project to succeed.
Founded in 2010, Pangrok Sulap is a collective of artists, musicians and social activists with a mission to empower rural communities and the marginalised through art.