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 Local

Jennifer’s latest book celebrates Sabah’s rich basket-weaving heritage

17th May, 2017

By MOHD IZHAM HASHIM

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s rich basket-weaving heritage is being celebrated in Jennifer P Linggi’s latest book, The Kampung Legacy – A Journal of Sabah’s Traditional Baskets.

Launched here on Tuesday by Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, the book serves as a useful guide and reference tool for craft-lovers, academicians, tourists and designers, who are keen to revive the traditional crafts or create new and contemporary designs.

Speaking at the official ceremony at Hilton Kota Kinabalu, Masidi heaped praise to Jennifer for her work and relentless effort to document the art of basket-making which forms an important fabric in Sabahan tradition and culture.

“It seems rather fitting that we are launching this wonderful book just in time for the coming Harvest Festival which is being celebrated in the month May, and it is with deepest hope that this effort will inspire many generations to continue Sabah’s heritage in traditional art and craft,” he added.

During her address, Jennifer said the book puts the spotlight on Sabah’s traditional craft of basket weaving which risks becoming a dying art as it is practiced by older women among traditional folk and slowly being forgotten by the younger generation.

“From 60 traditional baskets featured in the book, 20 of them are already extinct but there’s a possibility that we will lose two thirds of all the baskets as young people are not interested in the tedious process of basket weaving,” she said.

According to Jennifer, basket-weaving involves very specific skills at every stage of its process from harvesting and choosing the suitable rattan and bamboo, to designing and lastly, weaving them into masterfully crafted baskets, which are mainly used to store agricultural produce.

Echoing her views, Masidi underlined that the ministry is keen to promote cultural programmes to empower the local community and encourage the interests among the younger generation.

“We in Sabah are proud of our diversity and our crafts are an important aspect of our material culture,” he said, noting many of the traditional baskets are disappearing due to the difficulty of getting raw materials, lack of skilled craft trainers and the lack of interest by the younger generation.

“We need to work together to keep our priceless traditions alive, and we are always looking for ways to support initiatives for furthering this cause,” said Masidi.

Among those who witnessed the launching include Ministry of Finance permanent secretary Datuk Pengiran Hassanel Bin Pengiran Haji Mohd Tahir, Tun Fuad Stephens Foundation chairperson Toh Puan Rahiman Stephens, Sabah Cultural Board chairman Tan Sri Wences Angang and members from the board of trustees of the Tun Fuad Stephens Foundation.

   
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