Sarawak Energy and Tun Jugah Foundation Collaborate To Upskill Local Baleh Artisans

28 APRIL 2021

Sarawak Energy and Tun Jugah Foundation (TJF) recently organised a two-day training event for 17 young artisans from the Iban community of Baleh and Kapit to share innovative ideas and design concepts while diversifying and enhancing the marketability of their beadwork products. The artisans learnt how to make contemporary ‘tangu’ as well as the ‘kungkung igi peria’ using modern materials.

The event aims to preserve and sustain the community's indigenous arts, crafts, cultural practices and traditions while enhancing capacity building for the community through production of marketable handicrafts.

The ‘tangu’ beaded collar and the ‘kungkung igi peria’ necklace are important symbols of cultural identity for women of the Iban community and are normally worn as part of traditional attire.

Participant Anastasia from Rumah Jack, Nanga Entelawan expressed her sincere thanks to Sarawak Energy for supporting women from the Baleh community through the beadwork training.

“I strongly believe that this training will significantly enhance our capability in producing quality and attractive products without neglecting the value of traditional heritage. The heritage art is refashioned into something more contemporary and mainstream that the younger generation can wear daily. This will also increase the marketability of our products,” she said.

Commenting on the training, Siti Aisah Adenan, Sarawak Energy’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Services said, “Sarawak Energy is keen to work with communities in our area of operations on sustainable livelihood programmes that also showcase Sarawak culture to a larger audience. Through this partnership with TJF, we hope to improve and grow a community of local artisans by enhancing their skills and the product marketability of their craft while promoting interest in heritage arts and crafts amongst the area’s younger people.”

Melia Linggi, TJF’s Managing Trustee, said during the virtual launch of the training, “Today we embark on the first out of three initiatives under our partnership with Sarawak Energy in our collective effort to preserve and promote indigenous Iban culture and heritage for the Baleh community. We hope this will continue to inspire the artisan community to continue creating original designs and producing beadwork that also have market potential beyond the immediate Kapit area.”

Anita ak Kayan from Nanga Bawai, Baleh also expressed her gratitude to the organisers for giving the local community particularly women the opportunity to participate in this workshop.

“I am one of the fifteen participants from Baleh. This training has enabled me to explore the creativity and skills by learning how to make our traditional beadwork more contemporary. This has enhanced my capability to produce quality and more marketable products in today’s competitive market environment. I hope Sarawak Energy continues to provide this training and open up opportunities to more women in Baleh,” Anita said.

Photo session with the participants and instructors at the end of the training.

One of the participants making her contemporary ‘tangu’.

Some of the beadwork products produced by the participants in this two-day workshop.