Schools, institutions of higher learning urged to propagate creativity among students to help S’wak become arts powerhouse

Abdul Karim (right) admiring a hand painted shoe by Abot Gudang.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Oct 1: Schools and institutions of higher learning have been urged to continue propagating creativity amongst students in careers in the creative fields to enable Sarawak to become an arts powerhouse.

In making this call, Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said more avenues are needed for the youth to explore their talents.


“Institutions of higher learning such as Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), Swinburne University of Technology, Limkokwing University, UCSI University and others must play their role in inspiring them (students) to greater heights in whatever their chosen career may be.

“Today, we already see many striking contemporary artworks inspired by traditional shapes and forms adorning workplaces and homes. I sincerely hope that this movement continues to grow and for Sarawak to become a powerhouse in arts in the coming years,” Abdul Karim said at the launch of the What About Kuching (WAK) 2022 Festival.

He believed that contemporary art, which combines traditional and modern styles and techniques, could be a way forward to ensure that Sarawak’s rich cultural identity can be maintained as the State moves into an era of modern and digital art.

Abdul Karim added that master craftsmen and women such as the few ‘Living Legends’ and ‘Adiguru Kraf’ must be willing to teach and share their skills and mastery with the younger generations to ensure continuity.

The much anticipated What About Kuching Festival, affectionately known as WAK, kicks off today with the official launching of two of its component events, Artistically About Kuching and SproutFest, at The Spring Mall today.

Abdul Karim (fourth right) at the launch of What About Kuching 2022 Festival.

Speaking at the event, Abdul Karim emphasised the importance of highlighting Kuching and Sarawak’s world-class arts and crafts products, which have received global accolades such as World Crafts City by the World Crafts Council and many other prestigious awards bestowed on its artists and artisans by UNESCO, Asean Handicrafts Promotion and Development Association (AHPADA), Perbadanan Kraftangan Malaysia and others.

“With Kuching awarded the prestigious World Crafts City by the World Crafts Council in 2018, it is imperative that my ministry, together with all related government agencies, NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and the private sector, collectively take the necessary steps to nurture, develop and promote our many art forms.

“This must apply to both our cultural and traditional as well as the contemporary and modern movements by established and burgeoning young talents,” he said.

As for SproutFest, Kuching Plant Club has taken the initiative to bring together many gardening communities that have gained much traction over the last few years of the movement control order (MCO) due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Calling it a healthy hobby, Abdul Karim said it is mentally and physically therapeutic to many who were stuck at home over the last few difficult years; thus, it is mentally refreshing to see plants and gardens growing well in a period that saw so much gloom.

Meanwhile, Artistically About Kuching is open to the general public from Oct 1 to 31, between 11am and 8pm, at G13/G14 ground floor of The Spring Mall.

Arts and crafts enthusiasts can also sign up for workshops and talks throughout October.

SproutFest happens over the two weekends in Oct at Level 2 of the same venue, showcasing the many gardening and ‘farm to table’ concept food vendors.

They will also feature workshops, talks and competitions throughout its staging periods in a festive atmosphere. — DayakDaily