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Five exhibitions you missed at the Old Courthouse during Rainforest Fringe Festival 2018

The recently ended Rainforest Fringe Festival (RFF) was a celebration of music, art, crafts, film, photography, food and culture.

The 10-day event from July 6 to 15 was a prelude to the world renowned Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF).

This year, RFF organised activities at several venues around Kuching city including Malaysia’s first Blue Ocean Entrepreneurs Township (BOET)  Borneo744, the 144-year-old Old Courthouse and local hotels Pullman Kuching as well as Waterfront Hotel.

Local and foreign visitors alike were treated to a wide range events, from a food fair at India Street, a book fair by Big Bad Wolf and music performances by At Adau, Electric Fields and Pete Kallang during the First People Party.

On top of the food, music and a series of talks curated by local NGO Friends of Sarawak Museum and Sarawak Museum Department, there were also art installations displayed in several locations.

At Borneo744, there was an installation of woven objects called Forbidden Fruits. Another breathtaking art installation was a root sculpture combining the technology of video mapping presented at the Old Courthouse.

If you missed out on the exhibitions, here are a rundown of what happened at the Old Courthouse during Rainforest Fringe Festival:

Some of the hyper-realistc artworks by Tan Wei Kheng, a self-taught artist from Marudi.
1.Tattoos

National Geographic Society documentary photographer Chris Rainier presented his photography collection circling on tribal tattoos.

His works on documenting indigenous cultures are highly respected and you could see the great length of his efforts through this exhibition.

You can still see some of his work on tattoos on his website here.

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2.Men: Women & Symbols

Speaking of tattoos, Men: Women & Symbols is a photography exhibition focusing on Sarawak tribal tattoos in its own unique way.

Hasse Sode Hamid took photos of Sarawak household names such as At Adau’s Ezra Tekola Samuel and national diver Bryan Nickson Lomas to create a series of extraordinary prints.

He collaborated with tattoo artist Jeremy Lo and has various tattoo designs printed on to the photographs.

A visitor browsing through the Men: Women & Symbols exhibition.
3.Forgotten Beauty

“When I went to tribal villages in the interior long ago, everyone was so warm. They invited me to their homes, even though they did not know me. They cooked for me. These are the old folks I want to paint. Their beauty is something I want the whole world to see.”

These were the words of Sarawakian artist from Marudi, Tan Wei Kheng explaining about his artworks displayed at the Rainforest Fringe Festival.

True to his words, Tan managed to capture the beauty of rural old folks from different tribes in Sarawak including the Kayan, Kenyah, Penan, Kelabit and Iban.

The details on his works are remarkable as you can see every wrinkle, grey hair, and eye expressions of each portrait painting.

You can see some of his works here.

A captivating portrait painting by Tan Wei Kheng.
4.Borneo People: A Photographic Journey

Just like Tan, Dennis Lau is another fellow Sarawakian who appreciates the beauty of rural folks.

Lau, one of the best ethnographic photographers in Malaysia documented the lifestyle of Sarawak tribes through his lenses for the last 40 years.

This exhibition showcased different activities of the locals such as a group of Penans making their ways through the jungle and a group of Kayans from Tubau enjoying their ice-cream.

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Kuching Old courthouse works as a venue for five exhibitions during Rainforest Fringe Festival 2018.
5.An introduction to the White Ranee

We have heard so much of all three White Rajahs, but what about the women who stood by them?

An Introduction to the White Ranee gave a glimpse of the life of Margaret De Windt, the wife of the Second Rajah of Sarawak Charles Brooke.

It showed various personal items including childhood photo of her three sons Vyner, Bertram and Harry as well as a silver handheld mirror belonged to the late Ranee.

Patricia Hului
Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight. She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science. She worked for The Borneo Post SEEDS, which is now defunct. When she's not writing, you can find her in a studio taking belly dance classes, hiking up a hill or browsing through Pinterest. Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at Kajomag.com or Twitter at @patriciahului.
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