The Tuyang Initiative had the wonderful opportunity to work with Singapore’s National Parks Board and the team at Singapore Botanic Gardens on the opening of the Ethnobotany Centre and Garden.
Ethnobotany is the study of the traditional knowledge and customs of people concerning plants and their medical, religious, and other uses.
Singapore Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, opened the Ethnobotany Garden and Centre on 30th June 2018. It was officiated by Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development.
We had the responsibility to curate traditional items, either used on a day to day basis or from ceremonial to festivities, which illustrates the significant influence of the natural surroundings to the Kenyah community’s art and craft. These items were exhibited at the Craft section of the Garden.
The Tuyang Initiative also planned and provided relevant live art & craft demonstration, which was presented by Mathew Ngau Jau (painting) and Rose Belarek (weaving). Mathew showcased the painting of “Tree of Life”, a traditional motif which depicts the origins of life, while Rose demonstrated how communities weaved using rattan and “bemban” to make functional items such as baskets which were used during farming or fishing.
This international showcase is an example of how we work towards our mission in maximising promotion of the cultural heritage of the Dayak communities we work with. In turn, this gives back the pride and belief to the communities that it is possible to practice aspects of their cultural heritage, across the value chain, while contributing to its preservation and development. And importantly, earning fairly from it.
We are currently in discussion for more opportunities to work with impactful international platforms such as Singapore Botanic Gardens, so our communities will get to continue showcasing the vastness of Sarawak’s Dayak cultural heritage in the near future.
Watch the coverage of the launch of the Ethnobotany Garden and Centre on Channel News Asia.