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Bimonthly exhibition of Sabahan artwork at Wisma Kebudayaan

25th March, 2019


KOTA KINABALU: The parking lot of Wisma Kebudayaan here in Asia City is set to turn livelier with bimonthly showcases of heritage and local independent artwork at Laman Seni.

The event concept, “Singgah Sini, Santai Sini”, set in motion by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment will be held on every other Saturday.

Assistant Minister Assafal Alian who was the officiator said the event invites all but especially tourists from the many surrounding hotels to become more acquainted with Sabahan roots and culture.

“It provides a space for art lovers to buy, sell, create and bond at the Wisma Budaya grounds which is strategically located in the heart of the city.

“I do believe that allowances for such activities are capable of building a close-knit local and even international community through the extension of art,” he said in his speech.

Apart from the exhibition, food trucks and bundle clothing booths will also be catering for the more straightforward visitors.

Assafal added that the event was the answer to the gripes of local artists demanding a legal space to show off their works.

“A different theme which celebrates the local ethnicities of Sabah could also be observed every month.

“For example, next month in May during the Harvest Festival, the exhibits could be more Kadazandusun, Murut and Rungus (KDMR) centric,” he said.

When walking by Laman Seni, Husman Razak’s transparent corner glass stall, Idaman Art Gallery, might be the most prominent with portraits of political leaders proudly hanging on display.

The 44-year-old said the skills he has now were all self taught through a patient 30-year process that begun from pencils to every comprehensive medium.

“I draw these portraits out of respect and trust in their leadership for a better country. Last time, (pointing towards a portrait of Shafie Apdal) this figure was Najib but I have since painted over his mug.”

During the interview he was receiving non-stop phone calls from clients in Brunei which he entertained with his left hand while feeding himself with his right.

“I have raised my family from the sales of my artwork. My eldest son has just finished his SPM while his sibling is still in school.

“The highest bid I had ever received, which was for a portrait of a certain political icon, fetched me somewhere around RM3,000,” said the sated artist who also has a client base in Europe and Africa.

He said that some of his more expressionist works in the past depicting issues of deforestation, for example, received hate and censorship as do many truer forms of emotions but that does not stop him from doing what he does best.

“This line of work sometimes gets hectic when you are required to meet deadlines and the expectations of people, but it is my full time job, I love it, and there is nothing out there better for me,” he told the New Sabah Times.

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