BY SARAH HAFIZAH CHANDRA
KUCHING: Situated in the heart of the city, the new Sarawak Craft Council (SCC) Gallery and Retail Outlet at the Sarawak Steamship Building will become another tourist attraction, selling authentic Sarawak crafts and souvenirs.
Visitors will be spoilt for choices as 10 retail spaces will display and sell some of the beautiful traditional handicrafts ranging from fashion accessories, ceramics, fabrics, natural or forest products and dry food by local producers and retailers.
One of the retailers, Dickson Noyen, 61, from Kodek Koleks, specialises in Bidayuh traditional attires. He expressed his joy at being offered a retail space in the gallery.
“I am thrilled with the opportunity to have my own retail space in this gallery.
“Previously, I’ve only been able to showcase my products on an event basis as a vendor,” he said.
Noyen hoped the gallery would bring in customers who are interested in tailored made Bidayuh traditional attires and accessories.
“I am happy the Bidayuhs are very proud of their traditional attires and there are continuous demands for them, especially during the Gawai festival,” he explained.
The managing director and jewellery designer of Pungu Borneo, Lucille Awen Jon, 36, said the handicraft community in Kuching had wanted a place as a one-stop centre for authentic Sarawak crafts in the main city centre.
“I want to offer shelf spaces for my fellow artisan friends whose applications were not successful so that they can display their products in my retail space. This will provide more varieties for customers to choose from,” she said.
Local batik artist, Abdul Malik Adenan, 56, from Miri, said he was looking forward to conducting classes and workshops in the gallery.
“I would like to conduct classes and workshops for the younger generations, especially school children. Weekend activities in this gallery will surely make it a lively and happening place for everyone,” he added.
According to Adenan, he exports his batik arts to customers in Australia, Holland, Belgium and England, who previously attended his workshops and classes during their visits to Sarawak.
“One of my students and customers from Belgium continues to make batik arts. Although she has adapted a Belgian technique, I taught her the basics,” he explained.
The retailers who were offered a retail space have submitted their applications through an open tender process for SSC’s approval.
SSC has agreed to waive the rental fees until December 2020 but retailers are still required to pay for utilities such as water, electricity and so on.