Launch of Borneo Beads Exhibition at Arts Gallery
BRUNEI DARUSSALAM, Nov 27: The first Borneo Beads Exhibition in Brunei showcases creative beaded handicrafts from around the island of Borneo with also the involvement of some main museums.
“Perhaps there are those who will wonder why only beads are on display and no other artefacts. This is because beads are still attracting interest from the moment they were found and are very much in use even now.”
This was stated by Pg Dr Karim bin Pg Hj Osman, Acting Director of the Museums Department and the exhibition’s chairman in his speech during the launching ceremony held at the Arts Gallery, Dermaga Diraja BSB.
The acting director also revealed that beads in Borneo were used by ancient people and were part of Borneo trade over 1,000 years ago.
Thus, he said, it was decided that a beads exhibition would be setup in Brunei to highlight their history and use among ethnic groups.
The launching ceremony’s guest of honour who inaugurated the exhibition was Datin Paduka Hjh Adina binti Othman, the Acting Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports.
“Beads are one of the earliest materials produced by human creativity and were traded as early as 6,000 years ago. Early beads were produced in Egypt and Mesopotamia, before spreading to Asia, including Southeast Asia and Borneo,” said the acting minister in her opening remarks.
She added that in Borneo, beads are usually found in archaeological sites and they are still continued to be used until now.
For the ethnic tribes of Borneo, beads have become a symbol of their identity and are passed on from one generation to the next. The beads also connect the various ethnic groups in Borneo.
It was highlighted that Brunei, Sabah, Sarawak, West Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and South Kalimantan have a lot in common – geographically, they are all part of an island and separated only by political boundaries that were established only in recent centuries.
“From the socio-cultural aspect, we are a community and have a lot of familiarities, such as in customs, languages, religion and beliefs. We have a common lingo-franca – Malay, as the daily and intermediate language. We also have many similarities among indigenous communities,” said Datin Paduka Hjh Adina.
She further shared that the exhibition is also showcasing works by contemporary bead-makers, in addition to the participation of SMEs in fairs and the sale of materials made out of beads.
Efforts in inviting players and traders to the exhibition are a good thing to encourage creativity and commerce amongst the Brunei community, she said.
“Beads and the bead-making process on the island of Borneo is, of course, an Intangible Cultural Heritage that should be preserved. However, to ensure its survival, the beads industry must be sustainable and economically viable,” concluded the guest of honour.
After her speech, Datin Paduka Hjh Adina was escorted by the chairman to officially launch the exhibition and then colourful beads were spilled into a Borneo island-shaped glass as the guest of honour pulled the top stopper.
After the launch, the acting minister was presented with tokens of appreciation by the heads of delegation from Sabah, Sarawak and Kalimantan, as well as from the Museums Department (represented by Pg Dr Karim).
This was followed by a group photo session with Datin Paduka Hjh Adina and all the heads of delegation as well as the event’s chairman.
The acting minister then toured the exhibition which had galleries of attractive, multicultural beads and bead products.
The exhibition is open daily to the public and entrance is free for the next three months.
source: Borneo Bulletin