Highlighting Malaysia’s heritage through language of craft

MALAYSIA will continue to make its presence felt at the London Craft Week (LCW) this year as one of the curated Country Pavilions, this time showing off heritage crafts.

Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah said, “We chose the theme ‘Malaysia’s Heritage Crafts’ because we want to tell the stories of our people through the language of craft.

“We will be showcasing craft made by people such as the Orang Asli from Peninsular Malaysia and Orang Asal from Sabah and Sarawak.”

The Malaysia’s Heritage Crafts exhibition will be held from May 6 to 14 at the High Commission of Malaysia’s premises at Belgrave Square in London, the United Kingdom.

The crafts will include woven baskets and mats, songket fabrics from Terengganu and Sarawak, wood carvings and other handmade crafts made from natural materials such as pandan, mengkuang, bemban and bamboo.

Tunku Azizah said they would be showcasing 14 crafts this year.

“There will also be demonstrations by seven master craftsmen and interactive workshops,” she said.

The Queen with some of the woven handicraft that will be featured at the Malaysia’s Heritage Crafts exhibition in London. — KAMARUL ARIFFIN/The StarThe Queen with some of the woven handicraft that will be featured at the Malaysia’s Heritage Crafts exhibition in London. — KAMARUL ARIFFIN/The Star

The master craftsmen are Ros Salleh (Keringkam Sarawak), Helena David (Sulam Manik from Sarawak), Senia Jugi (Anyaman Bemban), Shirley Vilin (Ikat Iban), Samri Abdul Rahman (Mah Meri Ancestral Carving), Maznah Unyan (Anyaman Pandan Mah Meri) and Norhaiza (Telepuk Terengganu).

The workshops include use of authentic materials and the public can try their hand at weaving or carving.

Speaking during a press conference at Istana Negara, Kuala Lumpur, Tunku Azizah said the exhibition was organised by Yayasan Tenun Pahang Diraja with support from Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation, Yayasan Tuanku Nur Zahirah, Sarawak government, the Foreign Ministry and Yayasan Al-Bukhary.

She said the exhibition was held to show the world what Malaysia was doing in terms of heritage craft as well as to present works and tell stories of Malaysian people such as Orang Asli and Orang Asal through their masterpieces.

She added that they also aimed to look for opportunities to collaborate or market Malaysian heritage crafts with international designers.

“The Country Pavilion is a continuation of last year’s exhibition at LCW which highlighted the Royal Pahang Weave (Tenun Pahang Diraja) collection made by prisoners from Penor and Bentong prisons,” said Tunku Azizah.

“I am hopeful that this year’s exhibition will go well as it will coincide with King Charles III’s coronation and I understand that Westerners have a keen appreciation for heritage craft.”

The Malaysia’s Heritage Crafts exhibition is free and open to the public daily, from 11am to 5pm. Bookings are required for the workshops, which can be done through www.londoncraftweek.com

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