Over 300 experts to unite in Kuching for forum on preserving, promoting heritage crafts

The Atelier-AHPADA Forum, themed 'Crafting the Next Generation' will take place at the Old Courthouse from Dec 1 to 3.

KUCHING, Nov 30: Over 300 delegates, comprised of international, regional, and national experts and enthusiasts in crafts, will convene in Kuching for the Atelier-AHPADA Forum, themed ‘Crafting the Next Generation’ at the Old Courthouse from Dec 1 to 3.

According to a media release, the Society Atelier Sarawak and Asean Handicraft Promotion and Development Association (AHPADA) are hosting this forum with the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts, BESarawak, Sarawak Crafts Council, Sarawak Tourism Board, and Sarawak Tourism Federation.

With Kuching designated as the City of Crafts by the World Craft Council in 2018, the organisers underscore the growing concern that the younger generation is at risk of losing their craft skills and traditions.

Additionally, they emphasise the necessity for those already in practice to acquire new skills in marketing and exposure to the global market.

The forum will delve into issues related to crafts education, marketing, design, art, and the future of crafts.

Notable highlights include an awards ceremony recognising two Sarawakians honoured as Asia Pacific Craft Masters by the World Crafts Council Asia Pacific Region: Bangie Embol (Pua Kumbu Ikat Weaving) and Michael Lim Tiang Ek (Fine Art and Batik).

World Crafts Council Asia Pacific president Aziz Murtazaev from Uzbekistan is expected to present the trophies and certificates to the award recipients in the presence of Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng, who will represent Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

The event will also witness the transfer of several Sarawak artifacts from notable US collector Dr David McLanahan to the Sarawak Museum.

Simultaneously, alongside the forum, an exhibition will feature works by living legends, including Bangie Embol (Pua Kumbu textile), Michael Lim (batik art), Andah Lembang (Iban pottery), Davis Mering (Pua Sungkit textiles), Abot Gudang (Dayak designs), Salbiah Muhi (Keringkam embroidery), and Mandona (Penan mat weaving).

An International Crafts Bazaar, open to the public from 9am to 5pm daily throughout the three days at the Courtyard corridors of the Old Courthouse, will showcase exhibitors from Indonesia, India, Thailand, and Malaysia, displaying textiles such as kebaya-sarong, crafts, and fashion. — DayakDaily