Baskets — possibly the most understated and underestimated of accoutrements. For as long as time itself, these woven wonders have been a necessity of life for humans regardless of where in the world they come from. And while they serve many functions in the workplace, at home, and in religious ceremonies, few people stop to consider their rich cultural and historical background.
Sabah’s baskets have their own unique tales to tell. To get a glimpse of their world and their makers, Jennifer P Linggi, a Sabahan author and collector, is sharing a collection of traditional Sabah baskets for an exhibition titled ‘BAKUL: Everyday Baskets from Sabah’ curated by architects Ling Hao and Tey Khang Siang.
What to expect
The traditional Sabah baskets will be on display during the seven-week exhibition, which runs from now to 23 February 2023.
Being held in the Main Hall of The Godown’s art space in Lorong Ampang, BAKUL will feature ordinary baskets like the Tadang, Reng, Takiding, Wakid, Barait, and Saiyon that are used in cooking, cleaning, farming, hunting, gathering, and rituals.
This exhibition aims to showcase the incredible variety of baskets used by Sabahans. It’s hoped that by providing a window into the lives of the people who weave them, then people will get a greater understanding of the indigenous peoples of Sabah and the Orang Asli of Malaysia more broadly. BAKUL will also shed light on the critical challenges facing them, such as the climate emergency, marginalisation, and land rights.
BAKUL is a free event with registration required via The Godown’s Instagram page. Exhibition hours are 12pm to 6pm on weekdays and 12pm to 7pm on weekends (Friday to Sunday). Additional activities taking place during the seven weeks will be updated on their social media pages.
A selection of photos and items collected from the Kampung Bakuku excursion where Jennifer and her team learned how to make these ‘everyday baskets’ will also be on display.
As part of the exhibition, weavers and advocates of the Orang Asli culture will be holding workshops and giving talks, so do look out for their schedule.
And don’t worry, shopaholics haven’t been forgotten. Two tamu (Sabah style open-air market) featuring Bornean crafts, food, and beverages, fresh produce, literature, and collectables will be held on 28 to 29 January and 25 to 26 February 2023.