Forts Lily and Sylvia to become cultural heritage centres for the Iban community


Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg (right) views a pua kumbu textile pop-up exhibit after launching the Iban Cultural Heritage Symposium and Expo in Kuching on June 24. Photo: Bernama

Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has agreed to transform Brooke-era Fort Lily in Betong and Fort Sylvia in Kapit into centres for preserving and exhibiting Iban artefacts, crafts, and collections.

He said that these centres will draw international tourists eager to learn about the Iban people's history and heritage while preserving their crafts, customs, and culture for future generations.

"The important thing is that these centres must be interactive, similar to the model used at the Borneo Cultures Museum, utilising AI (artificial intelligence) technology in the narrative(s), so that visitors understand the story behind each displayed item," said Abang Johari when opening the Iban Cultural Heritage Symposium and Expo in Kuching today.

Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said that since both forts are currently empty, the Dayak Cultural Foundation (DCF) came up with the idea to turn these buildings into repositories for Iban cultural items.

"Given that the Premier has agreed, DCF will discuss with the museum authorities and we will manage both forts accordingly. Part of our job is to collect all the artefacts," he said.

Earlier, in his speech at the event, Uggah said that the symposium and expo aim to discuss the importance of preserving cultural heritage and protecting cultural assets, with around 200 participants in attendance.

"In Sarawak, each community has their own unique cultural heritage to preserve and to showcase to the outside world.

"Like other ethnic groups in Malaysia, the Dayak community takes immense pride in its cultural heritage and roots. We do not want to lose both our tangible and intangible cultural heritage. However, I must admit that our greatest fear is that, one day, it might disappear and gone,” he said. - Bernama

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symposium , expo , culture , Iban , Sarawak , Premier , Abang Johari , forts , Lily , Sylvia


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