Plans to renovate Bandar’s art gallery still under way
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
PLANS to transform the old Customs and Excise Department office at the Royal Wharf into a modern art gallery is still under way, said the deputy director of the Museums Department yesterday.
The building will be renovated into a two-floor modern art gallery, said Pg Dr Karim Pg Hj Osman told The Brunei Times on the sidelines of the Hari Raya Aidil Fitri celebration at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS).
The department is still looking into applying for a budget for the renovation, he added.
The former government building had been gazetted under the Antiquities and Treasure Trove Act 1967.
The ministry had proposed the transformation project during the seventh legislative council meeting as a way to preserve the historical value and national heritage of the building as well as to introduce more tourist spots in the capital.
“The purpose of the construction of the art gallery is to not only revive but enliven the artwork by Bruneian artists as well,” the deputy director said.
The revamp of the art gallery is highly anticipated and seen as a positive move towards the development of the local creative industry, particularly the visual and performing arts sector.
Associate Professor Kong Ho of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Universiti Brunei Darussalam, in an interview last July, said that proposals to set up an art centre and arts development council had been made during closing of the National Policy Forum on Creative Industries in 2012.
Kong, who was a secretariat member of the forum, said the proposals were included under the short-term recommendations, and art museum and creative arts village/hub for the long term strategies.
The forum was joinlty organised by the university, MCYS and Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies. According to Kong, he has yet to receive any follow-up action from the ministry.
Meanwhile, the Museums Department in collaboration with the Brunei Art Forum will be organising an Art Corner every weekend and hold several activities including drawing contests.
“Artists will have the chance to use the venue and showcase their drawing skills as well as have the opportunity to sell their paintings,” Pg Dr Karim said.
The Hari Raya Aidil Fitri celebration at the DiGadong Hall yesterday was held for the ministry’s officers and staff.
It was attended by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah who gave a brief speech and also took part in one of the stage performances.
Also present was Deputy Minister, Datin Paduka Hajah Adina Othman, Permanent Secretary Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Hamid Hj Mohd Jaafar, Deputy Permanent Secretary Hj Noor Jusmin Hj Abd Samad, senior officers, directors and members of staff.
The Brunei Times