The Ulu and the Museum exhibition

The exhibition “The Ulu and the Museum” opened in April 2012 at the Sarawak Museum Art Gallery. On exhibition were photographs from the museum collection taken between 1951 and 1978. These were photographs I digitized and repatriated during my PhD research.

Exhibition flyer postcard Exhibition flyer

The photographs were shown publicly for the first time. Later that year many of the photographs were published in a corresponding book. The caption contained contributions by people in the communities where the photographs had been taken. I had taken the photographs back to the communities during my PhD fieldwork in order to talk to people about the photographs. Many people had recognized themselves or their family members in the photographs, and had been surprised and pleased! During several visits information was increasingly added to the photographs during these interviews and group discussions.

Members of museum staff at the opening with their favourite photograph! Museum staff with their favourite photograph!

Curating and setting up the exhibition was fun, and a lot of work. The help of museum staff in hanging the photographs made everything much easier. The museum also organised an opening event, to which many people from the Orang Ulu community in Kuching were invited. The son of the couple shown in one of the photographs used for the promotional material also attended. He was very moved about seeing his late father commemorated in the photographs, and gave an interview about his Orang Ulu family history to the press.

Son of Penghulu Gau at the openingOpening event at the Sarawak Museum Art Gallery with Director Ipoi Datan, Assistant Culture and Heritage Minister Liwan Lagang and Sebastian Kajan Gau, son of Penghulu Gau shown in the photograph

Son of Penghulu Gau (in the photograph) interviewed by the press at the exhibition opening Sebastian Kajan Gau, the son of Penghulu Gau speaking with the press

The exhibition was shown at the Sarawak Museum in Kuching for several weeks, and then moved to the Marudi museum in the old Fort Hose, the government fort used by Marudi’s most famous government resident.

The photographs, captions, texts and maps can also be viewed at the exhibition flickr site. The exhibition had a facebook page, too! The exhibition opening also received press coverage in the Borneo Post and The Star.

Here are some more photographs from the exhibition setup and opening:

Setting up the exhibition - framing prints in a back room of the art gallery

I framed all the pictures here in the back room of the Sarawak Museum art gallery! It’s a tiny space, but it worked well. I used the frames from our previous Typography exhibition courtesy of the Goethe Institute in Kuala Lumpur. Thank you, Dr. Volker!

Selecting objects from the Sarawak Museum stores

The Sarawak Museum staff was kind enough to allow some objects from their vast storage facilities to be used in the exhibition. Thank you very much, Director Ipoi!

First day of setting up - not much to see yet!

First day of setting up the exhibition – not much to see yet!

Slowly the exhibition is growing

Setting up this exhibition would have been impossible without the help of Sarawak Museums staff. It was complex due to the amount of photographs, the style of hanging, the extensive captions and the objects.  Thank you to everyone who took part!

All are hard at work at the Art Gallery

Slowly the exhibition is growing. Some helpers are fixing the gifts to be handed to the VIPs at the opening.

The objects have been delivered from storage!

The objects from the storage facilities have arrived!

At the exhibition opening

The official opening! From left, myself, Sarawak Museum Director Ipoi Datan, and Assistant Culture and Heritage Minister Liwan Lagang browsing the program of the event.

Among the audience were many from the Kuching Orang Ulu community

Audience at the exhibition opening. Many members of the Kuching Orang Ulu community attended, as well as affiliates of the Sarawak Museum such as honorary curators, and other researchers.

The Sarawak Museum director, Ipoi Datan, is speaking at the opening

Director Ipoi Datan speaking at the opening

This must have been the most popular photo in the exhibition!

This must have been the most popular photograph in the exhibition!

VIPs looking at Orang Ulu material culture during the opening

VIPs looking at Orang Ulu material culture during the exhibition opening

Map at the exhibition

Map shown at the exhibition


One response to “The Ulu and the Museum exhibition

  1. Pingback: Visualising research: Maps | Christine Horn·

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