Local artists get recognition in book

National 4 minutes, 3 seconds


LOCAL artists are slowly getting the recognition they deserve with the latest acknowledgement being in the form of a book.

Published in the Modern Artists of Brunei Darussalam book written by Dr Hj Baharudin Hj Mohd Arus, a lecturer from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), the book serves as an immortalised showcase of local talents.

An art exhibition and ceremony was held at The Empire Hotel & Country Club lobby over the weekend to commemorate the book launching.

“I felt compelled to produce this book as a first step to promote local artists and their work at least in this region,” said the author.

“…This volume also serves as a coffee table book for art lovers and layperson alike, to enjoy the art featured in the book…”

“I hope this book will spark public curiosity and appreciation and love for art as part of an endeavor for one aspect of the national creative industry to be developed in the future” he added.

In an exclusive interview with The Brunei Times, Dr Hj Baharuddin said, “I wish to improve the art industry, to pull together the local veteran and upcoming artists into a community.”

“We need more art writers who can critique and appreciate art,” he said. Among the artists published in the book were Pg Dato Paduka Hj Asmalee Pg Ahmad, Pg Timbang Pg Hj Tuah, Pg Mohd Roslan Pg Hj Bakar and Dr Zahari Hamidon.

Pg Dato Hj Asmalee spoke with The Brunei Times saying that there should be more events like this that compiles artists together, where leaders, sponsors and authoritative agents can help exhibit and expose local artists and hopes that it would increase the number of art writers. Sharing his story, he said, “I grew up after World War Two; times were hard. Everyone had to struggle. For the passion of art, I had to struggle.”

“A piece of paper was hard to get.”

“But the one person I can say who inspired me to pursue art was Al-Marhum Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Sir Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, when he presented me with a prize I won during an art competition he held. It was a box of oil paints and drawing instruments,” he said.

Pg Timbang has been interested in Japanese art styles, as well as concepts inspired by Brunei, influenced by Brunei.

He has been experimenting with Japanese inks since 2008 after he went to Japan where he painted at the museums.

“The Japanese art has a discipline,” he said, explaining the strokes and techniques he uses.

“I also dream my daughter becoming an artist one day,” the proud father added. Dk Sharifah Elena Pg Timbang, who recently won second prize of the Year 10 to Year 13 student category of an art competition, held in conjunction with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s 66th birthday.

She uses the Internet to find her inspiration and then implement her fathers’ style.

“I’m still new with the Japanese style and I am open to critique.”

“Critique is important as it helps us move forward and improve our art,” Pg Timbang said. Rimba Satu Secondary School teacher Pg Mohd Roslan, exhibited his painting of Tasek Lama.

He said it’s a realistic style that captures the deepness of the environment and focuses on the details of the light.

“The theme was to promote Brunei, and it’s known for its natural resources. Tasek lama inspired me to spread the greenery and environmental preservation” the teacher said.

“I have sold paintings overseas, people are particularly interested in the greenery this country has. And this painting captures that time because one day Tasek Lama will change. The painting would not just help people remember what it used to look like; it would show history as well.”

His message as a teacher to aspiring local artists was “Take the chance and exhibit your work, do not be shy about them.”

UBD lecturer Dr Zahari said his favourite style of art was watercolors since 1985, but since 2001 he has explored the “broader medium” of 3D animation, a subject he teaches in the university since 2005.

“By using different mediums, one can explore their limits with art and interpret the art they know in a different perspective,” he said.

“Creativity is what controls the elements on a canvas, thus art is created. I hope the locals can show more of their talents,” the lecturer added. Honoring the event was Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Datin Paduka Hjh Adina Othman.

“I urge the artists to keep improving themselves to better the quality of their work, be genuine in their originality and be unique,” she said in her opening comment. She also addressed the agencies involved should have more events to increase the chances to improve and develop Brunei with the MIB philosophy.

The Brunei Times