Kuching, the capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, is a great place to live. There is, however, a shortage of engagements with art and design, in particular of the contemporary and international kind. Since my colleague Azuar and I worked as lecturers in Design at Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus, we thought it was important to offer our students a more immersive environment. Thus, we started to organise and curate exhibitions at the local state museum, the Sarawak Museum.
For this particular exhibition we wanted to produce the artwork ourselves, together with our students. The plan was to work in collaboration with students in Berlin, Germany and Melbourne, Australia. Students from each city were to take photographs of typography around the city and we would exhibit them together, as a comparative typography show. This was how the exhibition “The words around us” was conceived in collaboration with the Goethe Institute in Kuala Lumpur, the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft (HTW) in Berlin, the Buchstabenmuseum (Museum of Letters) in Berlin and the Sarawak Museum. The Buchstabenmuseum was a fantastic partner, very supportive, and they remain one of my favourite typographic organisations.
The exhibition opened in June 2009, not quite as grand as the poster exhibition, but it took place at the Sarawak Museum art gallery rather than the new wing. The art gallery is a much nicer space.
This is the Goethe Institute flyer for the event. It’s in German. We also had a blog for the exhibition where some of the photographs are shown, and the local press, the Borneo Post, wrote about it too, with a photograph!
Setting up the exhibition together with students
Not quite the opening – yet!
Hanging up the last picture
Preparing the Sarawak Museum art gallery
Entrance of the art gallery with exhibition signage
Here are some samples of photographs at the exhibition: