Photography exhibition featuring Ukit people and customs to run from Dec 27 to Jan 2

From second left: Ong, Chai and UTS vice chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Khairuddin Abdul Hamid pose for a photo-call with publicity material for the photography exhibition.

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By William Isau

SIBU, Dec 8: The public can learn and find out more about the Ukit people at the Ukit Ethnic Culture Photography Exhibition from Dec 27 to Jan 2 at University of Technology of Sarawak.

The opening ceremony is expected to be officiated at by Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts, Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

Speaking at a press conference today, Sibu Photography Association (SPA) president Edwin Ong Wee Kee, said the Ukit is among theeight ethnic groups recorded in his project titled ‘Sarawak Human Geography’.

“My group members and I have been taking pictures in Kapit for eight years, from the biggest ethnic (group) to the minority one. It is becoming harder and harder to encounter the minority groups in the rural area,” he said.

Ong said the Ukit people are a small minority ethnic group found in Sarawak who were traditionally nomads in the rainforests of Borneo.

Ong added that his group’s slogan “We Shoot Before They’re Gone”, is used as a reminder to all that these groups are hardly seen nowadays and that their cultural history is priceless.

He expressed his gratitude to the ministry as due to its support for SPA in capturing the beauty of the Ukit tribe and documenting them for the future generations.

“Our next plan is to do a documentary on the Melanau in Mukah, and Berawan and Seban ethnic groups in Miri by pictures. These are the minority groups that can be still found in Sarawak. I wish to document as many as possible about their culture and traditions in pictures for the sake of our next generations,” said Ong of his future plans.

Ministry for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts’ section head of arts, culture and heritage, Dr Elena Chai meanwhile in congratulating SPA for the Ukit project said documenting the culture and traditions of the Ukit people through photographs is a very good way of introducing them to people inside and outside Sarawak.

Chai said as the beauty of Sarawak has yet to be discovered and introduced to people within and outside of Sarawak, all cultures and traditions of Sarawak’s 34 ethnic groups must be recorded in pictures or videos so that they can be a source of reference for the sake of the younger generations. — DayakDaily