Expand uses and applications of local handicrafts
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
LOCAL handicrafts should be used beyond ceremonial customs and traditions to ensure the continuity of its production and consumption, said a Universiti Brunei Darussalam study.
The study – titled ‘Socio-Cultural History of Handicrafts in Brunei Darussalam: Metal and Fabric Weave’ – discussed the importance of locally-made handicrafts which boasts an important symbolic significance in providing a representation of the sultanate.
The author explained that while the handicrafts may serve their own functional purpose, they represent more than what they were initially made for, especially in expressive and symbolic terms.
“The production and usage of these items are closely related to our customs, culture and our nation’s artistic heritage,” said Siti Norkhalbi Hj Wahsalfelah.
She gave the example of how local handicrafts such as the keris (dagger) and kain tenunan (brocade) – usually used only during traditional ceremonies such as weddings – should be used more often.
“The sustainability of handicraft production relies heavily on its usage throughout society. It is the responsibility of all parties, including the government and all members of society, to ensure that this part of our culture does not go extinct in this era,” she said.
The creation of institutes specifically for handicrafts have helped in ensuring the continuity of local handicrafts.
These include the Art and Handicrafts Training Centre which offers courses on local handicrafts to those interested.
Siti Norkhalbi went on to say that makers of local handicrafts should try to penetrate the international market.
“In line with globalisation, the craftsmen and entrepreneurs should have the vision to explore the global market,” she said.
“From here, efforts to expand production of the handicrafts should reach beyond traditional and customary uses.”
It could also help boost the economy, once it has successfully penetrated the global market, she said.
The Brunei Times