New Sarawak Museum to have art gallery featuring local artists’ creations

Abang Johari (second right) paying his last respects to the late Raphael at the funeral parlour at St Joseph’s Cathedral in Kuching today (Nov 26, 2019). Seen on Abang Johari's left is Manyin.

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By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Nov 26: Sarawakian artists will have their chance to exhibit their masterpieces at an art gallery which will be set up in the new Sarawak Museum, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Besides the new Sarawak Museum, an exhibition corner would also be set up at the new performing arts centre to be established at the old State Legislative Assembly (DUN) complex.

“We will have a gallery, we have a certain zone for that. At the same time, as you know we are turning the old DUN into a performing arts centre and a gallery. So perhaps we can also exhibit his (Raphael) works there,” Abang Johari told reporters after paying his respects to the late renowned Bidayuh artist Raphael Scott Ahbeng at his wake at the funeral parlour at St Joseph’s Cathedral here today.

On Raphael’s demise, Abang Johari said his passing was a great loss to Sarawak as he was an art icon who projected local values about society, the environment and culture.

“He’s a man of determination and also he translated society in the form of art. As you know he’s good in abstract art and his passing is a loss to us.

“But I’m sure he has left a legacy to the younger generation especially (the importance) in preserving the environment, culture and the way we live. Because in most of the pictures that he translated into his art we can see these elements being revealed such as rainforests, conservation and heritage,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dayak Bidayuh National Association chief advisor Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong said Raphael’s passing was a great loss to the community as he was an icon in Bidayuh arts.

“He’s the first Bidayuh artist who exhibited his works throughout the world. So his passing is a great loss to our community,” said Manyin.

He also hoped that Bidayuh artists would be able to form an association to promote Bidayuh arts. — DayakDaily