KUCHING, Sept 28: Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah today described the launching of The Ranee: Margaret of Sarawak exhibition gallery at the Old Court House as `historic’.
“There is not much written about Margaret Brooke — the Ranee of Sarawak, but she played a very important part in the history of Sarawak in those days and era,” he told reporters after launching the exhibition gallery.
“The Ranee played an important role for her husband, the Second White Rajah of Sarawak Charles Brooke. She is a very strong lady and of high spirit, which is reflected in her portraits,” he added.
Karim added that the Ranee had a passion for many things, especially arts and writings, and her parts were not just about the administration of the state.
“Probably, without her, we would not have the Astana and Fort Margherita, as these two are very important historic and landmarks in Kuching.
“The Astana was built for her, and the fort was named after her,” said Karim.
He expressed confidence that the collections from the Brooke family and are on display at the gallery are something that would bring many Sarawakians down memory lane.
“We felt very treasured and honoured that we had such heritage, and we should thank the Brooke’s Trust for willing to bring these artefacts back to Sarawak or it will be somewhere in the United Kingdom.
“This is something very close to our hearts and to Sarawak,” he said.
Karim further pointed out that the exhibition gallery is a must go place for tourists and visitors as the state always wanted Kuching to be a city that has a soul and history.
“We want to see many galleries and many museums in the city. This could be one of the places for visitors to come over to know more about the heritage, the history of Sarawak and Kuching.
“It is a must-visit place. The moment they visit Fort Margherita, they must visit this gallery,” he said.
The exhibition gallery contains artefacts from the Brooke family, and it is an extended project by the Brooke Trust following the successful operation of the Brooke Gallery at Fort Margherita, the Trust’s flagship project, that was opened in Sept 2016.
The Brooke Trust director Jason Desmond Anthony Brooke, who was very enthusiastic on the launching and opening of the exhibition gallery of his family, said he felt proud to share what the Brooke had in the family that was very much part of Sarawak, especially the Ranee personal belongings and other artefacts that had historic values to the state.
Present at the launching ceremony were Deputy State Secretary Dr Sabariah Putit, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Hii Chang Kee and newly minted Sarawak Tourism Board chief executive officer Sharzede Salleh Asko. — DayakDaily