Kuching to host World Crafts Cities Network Forum 2019 in Nov

Karim (seated second right) speaking to reporters accompanied by his Assistant Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting (second right) and his Permanent Secretary Hii Chang Kee (right).

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KUCHING, Sept 23: Kuching will play host to the World Crafts Cities Network Forum 2019 this coming November 8 till 10, for the first time.

This event is to be held in conjunction with another international event, the 9th Biennial WEFT (World Eco fiber and Textile) Forum 2019, Exhibition and Fashion Show.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said 15 countries have confirmed their participation in the forum following the visitations sent out by the World Crafts Council (WCC) and World Crafts Council Asia Pacific to the various Governors and Mayors of WCC Craft Cities throughout the world, includin Jogjakarta (Indonesia); Gianyar Bali (Indonesia); Khon Kaen (Thailand); Sakon Nakhon (Thailand); Jaipur (India); Mamallapuram (India); Mysore (India); Dongyang (China); Dehua (China); Anxi (China); Xianyou (China); Fuxin (China); Hui’an (China); Donghai (China); and Bornholm (Denmark).

“We are also awaiting confirmation from: Isfahan (Iran); Mashhad (Iran); Lalejin (Iran); Marivan (Iran); Sirjan (Iran); Kalporgan (Iran); Tripoli (Lebanon); Hebron (Palestine); Madaba (Jordan); New Hebrides (Scotland); Rari (Chile); Chimbarongo (Chile); Donihue (Chile); and Liguine (Chile),” he told a press conference after chairing the organising committee meeting here this afternoon.

Abdul Karim said several subjects namely on Crafts and Tourism; Crafts and Education; Crafts and Cultural Conservation; and Crafts and Marketing would be discussed at the World Crafts Cities Forum 2019.

He said with a wide variety of specialisation among the craft cities in WCC-Asia Pacific Region, there would be a great potential for cooperation between the cities in WCC-APR including Kuching, Sarawak, which shares a lot of similarities with crafts of Jaipur, Isfahan and Hebron in general.

Having been designated as WCC- world craft cities for crafts, Abdul Karim said these cities have the advantage of organising thematic events from a wide selection of specialisations such as Mashhad, Fuxin and Donghai, which are designated for specialisation in hard stones like semi-precious stones, agate, and rock crystal.

“They can concentrate on their specialisation in exchanging technological skills and design, such as in the cities of Tabriz and Sirjan which specialises in carpet and Kilim weaving. Both cities can innovate tremendously especially that Sirjan already started mixing both techniques of carpet weaving and Kilim in their product,” he said.

Karim (third left) and his Assistant Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting (fourth right) giving their thumbs-up with some models showcasing a sneak peek of some of the costumes to be showcased during the World Crafts Cities Network Forum 2019.

Abdul Karim also highlighted several other cities and their specialties like Mamallapuram and Hui’an for stone carving; Dehua, Lalejin and Kalpourgan which are famous for their porcelain, wheel pottery and hand-made pottery; Jogjakarta and Sakon Nakhon for their Batik and indigo-dyeing; and Dongyang and Xianyou for their wood carving and wood furniture.

As for the three-day WEFT Forum 2019, he and organisers are expecting the participation of 30 internationally renowned scholars, community leaders and fashion designers of traditional costumes and fashion who will share their latest research information and knowledge on historical or cultural dress, contemporary and innovative designs over the three mornings.

He also revealed that on the three afternoons, there would be workshop sessions with the Sarawak cultural communities and associations where at least 500 delegate members were expected to attend comprising of 300 international ones from 10 Asean member countries of AHPADA, and the rest would be local delegates from all over Malaysia.

Abdul Karim said all the crafts and costumes of participating countries would be exhibited at a new Gallery space at the Hills Mall, while simultaneously, an International Crafts Bazaar will be organised at the Hills Mall.

“The International Gala Dinner and Fashion Show is one of the highlights of the event to be held on Saturday, November 9 at Pullman Hotel Kuching showcasing 28 International Designers including renowned Malaysian Designers,” he said.

There will also be short afternoon tours and post-forum tour options that would include visits to local weaving and craft centers, as well as places of interest in Kuching and Sarawak, Abdul Karim added. — DayakDaily