The Sarawak arts scene is probably the most vibrant in Malaysia excluding Kuala Lumpur and it is home to what is reputed to be one of the best museums in SE Asia, the Sarawak Museum.
Built and opened in 1891 the Sarawak museum was extended in 1911 and its facade resembles that of a French chateau, its walls are built of bricks and pillars and its roof is made of Belian wood and concrete giving an imposing imperial architectural style befitting of a museum.
The Hornbill Art Gallery in the centre of Miri is unusual because the medium the artist displays his work on is Batik or Silk using traditional techniques he delivers some unbelievable results.
The Sarawak Cultural Village is commonly known as the living museum where visitors can enjoy a full Sarawakian experience in one location.
The world renowned Rainforest World Music Festival has become the most successful annual festival in Sarawak as musicians from all over the world come to perform at a unique world diversified festival. It is held at the Sarawak Cultural Village just outside Kuching and has proven to be a major tourist attraction and people are advised to book their tickets and hotel accommodation early.
The Sarawak Handicraft Centre in Kuching is a good place to see authentic local handicrafts being made by crafts people from rural villages who demonstrate their skills on a monthly rotating basis. This rotating concept ensures that many different handicraft styles can be seen throughout the year at the Sarawak Handicraft Centre.
Everything from bead works to pottery and furniture to fabrics is on display at the Sarakraf Pavilion as well as the more unusual items such as the arty tree bark products and authentic Sarawak tiles.
A magnificent colonial era mansion on Tabuan Road in Kuching is home to the Sarakraf Pavilion that exhibits some unique art and handicrafts of the Sarawakian natives. Sarakraf Pavilions' high quality hand made products display both highly decorative and functional items designed with a Sarawakian ethnic touch that appeals to all that visit this arts and cultural institution.
Best of all you can indulge in the rich cultural heritage of Sarawak by going to the village theatre to watch a show displaying traditional dances and music presented by various ethnic groups, definitely a highlight of any visit.
Demonstration of arts and handicrafts crafts like bamboo and wood carvings, pua weaving, straw weaving and making Beads can be seen while touring the Village.
Ramsey Ong is a famous Sarawakian artist whose works grace the walls of many museums, art galleries, private and public institutions, homes of dignitaries, art collectors and appreciators worldwide. Needless to say if you are interested in art then a visit to his gallery is a must.
Situated on the Main Bazaar in Kuching is the ARTrageously Ramsay Ong (ARO) Gallery showcasing paintings by the owner and various other artisans of note including Narong Daun, Chew Fang Chin and Wong Neng Lee.
The Hornbill Art Gallery showcases the symbiotic relationship between ethnic life and indigenous flora and fauna in a colourful and detailed intensive way that depicts the idyllic and mystical nature of Borneo in such a way that it captures the imagination.
Some other noteworthy museums on the Sarawak arts scene are the Textile, Chinese History, Niah Archaeology, Limbang Regional, Baram Regional, Petroleum, Timber and Police museums.
Closeby to the Sarawak Museum is the Sarawak Islamic Museum which has 8 galleries showcasing historical Islamic artefacts such as coinage, weaponry, textiles, pottery and porcelains.
A large mural can be found in the middle of the museum reproduced to copy the original found in a Kenyah tribe longhouse and it depicts the Tree of Life Borneo style. Some other attractions include real human skulls dating back to when headhunting was so popular it was akin to a national sport.
The Sarawak museum displays various indigenous items in its natural history section such as ethnography artifacts, local art, historical documents, antiques and specimens of Sarawak fauna like reptiles, mammals and birds.
Sarawak Art Galleries
Sarawak Arts Scene
The name Kuching in Malay means cat and Kuching is home to its very own Cat Museum and cat lovers will be pleased to learn that there are over 2,000 cat artifacts and memorabilia on display in the Cat Museum across 4 galleries devoted to all things feline.
Indeed such is this city's fascination with cats that statues of cats can be found all over Kuching, at many junctions and roundabouts you will come face to face with these cat statues and in the city centre squares you will see eager tourists lining up to have their photos taken with these elegant feline statues.
The exhibits from SE Asia and other Islamic nations provides an information rich insight into the development of Islam in the region and its connections with the development of Islam in other nations.
There are fine examples of Sarawakian architecture on display such as the Bidayuh centre house and longhouse, the Iban longhouse, the Penan hut, the Orang Ulu longhouse, the Melanau Rumah Tinggi, the Malay house and the Chinese farmhouse.
Rattan Tree, Used For Making Handicrafts