3rd Rainforest Fringe Festival returns in July

Front row, from third left: Joe, Abdul Karim, Lee and Sharzede holding up posters to promote programmes held throughout RFF 2019 during a group photo-call.

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By Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, May 14: The third Rainforest Fringe Festival (RFF) returns this year, showcasing an all-inclusive programme including music, arts, craft, film, photography and food to allow visitors to immerse themselves in Sarawak’s rich culture and heritage.

The festival, a prelude to the annual Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF), will take place at various venues across the city on July 5-12.

“We are proud to host the Rainforest Fringe Festival once again, and we feel that the people of Sarawak deserve to celebrate their richness in culture and history,” Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said when announcing the festival here today.

Also present were his assistant minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Sarawak Tourism Board chief executive officer Sharzede Salleh Askor and festival director Joe Sidek.

The event is organised by Abdul Karim’s ministry in collaboration with Joe Sidek Productions Sdn Bhd.

The festival opens on July 5 at the Old DUN building with a fashion show ‘Asas Melayu, Lembaran Emas – Songket and Keringkam of Sarawak’ featuring designs by acclaimed Malaysia’s king of fashion Dato Sri Bernard Chandran as well as Sarawak’s own Datuk Tom Abang Saufi and Tanoti House of Kuching.

The public can also access the event via live streaming, Joe said.

Another opening weekend highlight will include a show titled ‘Primates’ at the Old Court House building, featuring UK-born Iranian Ghaffar Pourazar of the Beijing Opera, award-winning Thai choreographer Jitti Chompee, Korean-based Penang dancer/choreographer Liu Yong Sean, Lim Pei Ern from Sabah and locally cast dancers.

Primates, which reinterprets the identity and movements of primate mammals including apes, monkeys and humans, will be performed on a specially constructed bamboo and wooden structure designed by Wendy Teo, a curator of Borneo Art Collective, accompanied by live music of the critically acclaimed Orang-Orang Drum Theatre.

Another cultural programme includes ‘Song of the Earth’ featuring Kayan Parap by Adrian Jo Milang, currently the youngest practitioner of the ancient and dying Kayan oral tradition of the ‘Parap’ and ‘Takna’.

There will also be an International Indigenous Film Festival at the same venue from July 7-12. Started in 2018 by Emmanuela Dewi Shinta and David Metcalf in Bali, the Indigenous Film Festival has travelled to Bhubaneswar in India and Kalimantan before making a stop in Kuching as part of RFF 2019.

Themed ‘Stories that matter’, the film festival would serve as a platform for regional and international indigenous filmmakers to showcase their work, form collaborations and networks while reaching out to a wider audience as well as attending workshops and dialogues with prominent indigenous filmmakers.

From right: Joe, Abdul Karim, Sharzede and Lee having a discussion before announcing the RFF 2019.

Other programmes lined up at the Old Court House included ‘Rainforest of the World’ photographic exhibition by Ch’ien Lee, comprising work from the rainforests of Borneo, Madagascar, New Guinea, and the Amazon Basin.

The photographer aims to inspire a deeper understanding of these places, their incredible diversity and how their continued existence is vital for the health of the entire planet, Joe said.

“Other highlights presenting the splendour of the state’s vast rainforest includes the Borneo Laboratory programme with a series of events – Plating the Wild, Museum of Scent, Borneo Laboratory book launch and exhibition,” he shared.

Other exhibitions include ‘Over Sarawak’ by David ST Loh, a project showcasing the best of Sarawak landscape and scenery via aerial photography at UOB Building, Main Bazaar, as well as ‘Jungle Fever’ by Marie Dargent at the Marian Boutique Lodging House and the launching of Brooke Heritage Trust’s ‘Museum of Kuching’ at the Old Court House.

At Borneo 744, the festival will showcase a five-day INK Kuching, showcasing traditional, indigenous and modern tattoo arts from the region.

As part of the festival community project, there will also be a live children-centric performance by Drumming Monkeys from Australia, as well as the staging of The White Rajah of Sarawak (reworked) presented by the St Joseph’s Private School.

The festival is also bringing back the popular Big Bad Wolf book sale to light up the eight-day programme, Joe said. — DayakDaily