|ANCESTOR'S FACE...Matthew Ngau Ju posing with his work of art.
Whilst many of us are familiar with stone-age legacies such as those at Niah, Stonehenge, there is now a new, modern stone Sculpture Park right here in Sarawak! Located in the internationally acclaimed Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV), the modern stone sculptures are a legacy of the first Batu Sarawak:
International Stone Sculptors Camp held recently at the SCV.
Under the skilful hands of a group of international and local sculptors, the native stones of Damai were given a new lease of life as they were transformed into works of art.
Furthermore, each of the stone art is a reflection of the sculptor's expression and perception on his/her experience and surrounding.
Chipping away on a natural sandstone at a secluded spot by the waterfall, Hiroshi Miyauchi, from Ehime, Japan has cut a channel from the stream to create a flooded ring around his work, the Male Rock and Female Rock, which symbolizes life energy.
IMAGE OF SANTUBONG...Achmad Sopandi's masterpiece.
This graduate in Sculpture from the Musashino University of Art reveals that this was an idea he got from the shiva lingam while traveling in India.
"I am happy for this chance to be here. It is very different from where I come from," says Masahiro Saji, another Japanese sculptor.
His sculpture is in the shape of a Bikung or Stone Adz.
"This tool for boat-making was brought to Japan three thousand years ago from this region.
It ventured on a big journey and discovered a new frontier. Today I am bringing the Bikung back in stone shape," he explains.
According to Kaori Fukunaga, also from Japan, when she arrived in Kuching, it rained a lot.
This prevented her from getting started with her work but provided an inspiration for her to produce Raindrop, a simple yet fine piece.
|LOCAL TALENT... Robert Valentine Yong putting the final touches to his sculpture 'Sarawakians'.
Yoga Wantoro's Tarian Ritual or Ritual Dance is in the form of a human dancer with a hollow heart.
This Indonesian from Jogjakarta was moved to recreate the grace of the dancers at the cultural village after watching them performed.
"The hollow heart allows viewers to see through the feeling of the dancer," he explains.
His compatriot, Achmad Sopandi produces the colorful Rupa Batu Santubong or Image of Santubong with a cluster of sandstones, incorporating impressions he formed during the one-month camp into dramatic motifs.
German sculptor Wilfred Behre works on seven blocks of granite stones with a diamond grinder as part of his Global Stoneline series.
One has to take a deeper look to understand the concept behind this project.
"This is a task for life. Perhaps it may not be completed," he says philosophically.
|EYE-CATCHING... Adam Barnes with his Caterpillar.
Ellen Butler from the UK confesses that this is her first time working with stone.
Her usual mediums are clay and polystyrene. The Dreamer is made up of two big rocks, on which the outline of a face and body is portrayed in surreal-like state.
"We all have dreams.
In the unconscious world of dreaming, we are one. There is no separation," she offers as an insight.
Brothers M.Rajendran and M.Ramu from India are aids to Raj Thiagarajan. They carved and shaped the sculpture entitled Mask using the mold designed by him.
"My first impression when I got here was that there was a lot of greenery.
I decided that I wanted to do something that would project nature's essence," remarks Ravinder Bhardwaj, also from India. "Where I come from, there is a unique two-winged seed, and I chose it as my subject," he continues.
|Yin & Yang...A balanced life energy is the concept behind Hiroshi Miyauhi's Male rock and Female Rock.
Soon to be 27, Adam Barnes from Australia is the youngest in the group. He shaped an intensely interesting Ulat Bulu or Caterpillar from sandstone to 'live' amongst the insects and plants around him.
Two local artists joined in to contribute to the camp. Matthew Ngau Jau's Bali Enting Sideng Sinan or Ancestor's Face captures the heritage of the sculptor while Robert Valentine Yong's huge granite Sarawakians is the artist's interpretation of the harmonious integration of races in the State.
Indeed, the Sculpture Park adds a new dimension to the cultural village. But don't take my word for it. To truly appreciate the myriad and variegated languages used by the sculptors, a first-hand view of these rock arts is required.