Borneo Bengkel Creative Residency

Borneo Bengkel is a two-week creative residency that explores identity and culture through the eyes of artists, craft makers, academics, and performers.
To celebrate Bornean identity and the ingenious beauty of its cultural and creative heritage

– Highlight the creative talents and cultural heritage of Borneo to national and international audiences
– Foster strong networks and progressive dialogues between indigenous artists
– Generate collaborations and new economic opportunities for our collaborators
– Build and preserve a legacy of Bornean cultural works for future referen

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RM10,000 Raised
RM10,000 Goal
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100% funded
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, Malaysia

The Project

Project Owner

Syed Syatbie Rusydie bin Syed Habib Abdullah Shukeran




Creatives in Borneo (especially East Malaysia) currently face a number of challenges not necessarily encountered by their West Malaysian brethrens. EXPOSURE – Lack of opportunities for artists from Borneo to showcase work CONNECTIONS – Limited networks between creative practitioners throughout the island OUTPUT- Need for more experimental and thought-provoking creative works DIALOGUE – Need for conversation about identity, culture and creativity in Borneo AWARENES – Public understanding and support for creativity needs improvement SUSTAINABILITY – Limited professional and economic growth for creatives The Malaysian art scene has given limited space for Borneo’s creative practitioners, and representations – when they occur – have often failed to present an accurate picture of what it means to be from Sarawak and Sabah. Many Malaysians, when asked to describe what the island has to offer, are stuck on visual and cultural cliques such as hornbills and blowpipes. Through Borneo Bengkel, we hope to highlight the fact that Sarawak and Sabah are a rich pool of untapped creative potential, and to fill in these gaps in the Malaysian art scene. We feel this will greatly enrich our country’s cultural economy and further highlight Malaysia on the international stage as a unique art destination with vibrant, talented creatives.


Borneo Bengkel attempts to address these issues and provide practical solutions through our five elements: 1) MEET: Collaborative activities & networking sessions between collaborators 2) SHARE: Discussing & sharing thoughts on the creative & cultural heritage of Borneo through artistic & anthropological perspectives 3) TEACH: Skill-sharing workshops & masterclasses by participants for the public 4) SELL: Sale of merch or other original products at the weekend Tamu Art Market 5) SHOW: Weekend showcase of artworks & creative performances The first Borneo Bengkel was a gathering of over 40 visual artists, performers, craft makers and anthropologists who collaborated in a week long residency programme, held between 16 – 22nd October 2017. Together they discussed and explored their shared cultural identities and created new works in response. Furthermore the programme had five events open to the public, ranging from a tattoo exhibition, anthropology dialogue sessions, and weekend programme of live performances, masterclasses, art market and workshops. Over 1000 members of the public attended the events, varying from students, young creatives, professional artists, retired specialists, tourists and international visitors. All events were free in order to make them as accessible as possible. Borneo Bengkel was a unique creative experience and the first of its kind attempted in Borneo. It connected a number of artists throughout Sarawak and Sabah, most of whom have never met before. This generated – and still generates! – new and exciting opportunities for collaborations while at the same time continuing to foster art awareness among the public. It also provided financial opportunities to our collaborators through masterclass sessions and the art market, whilst creating new networks between art consumers and creative practitioners. Through Borneo Bengkel we endeavour to provide our collaborators with meaningful personal and professional development in a supportive environment whilst raising the conceptual and creative standards of works produced in Malaysia through an active exchange of knowledge, ultimately realising the creative and economic potential of talented artists from Borneo.

Target Beneficiary

Creatives and the youths of Borneo. Creatives, because there is a strong need for more art-focused activities in Malaysia as the country – and the world in general – increasingly recognise the importance of creative industries in driving both social and economic development. Youths, because they are our next generation of leaders, investors, and creatives – and therefore will be the ones influencing policies that will define our country in the future.

Impact Parameters

Number of collaborators, number of public attendees, number of new works created, revenue from events, art market, and workshops etc.

Project Endorsement


PROJECT MANAGERS: Catama Borneo (Programme Curator): A social enterprise working with indigenous communities in Sarawak to preserve traditional crafts through contemporary innovation. Their energy is focused on creating sustainable livelihoods for rural craft makers, documenting craft heritage, encouraging generational knowledge transfer and providing training and skill upgrading to produce exquisite and distinctive contemporary design pieces. HAUS KCH (Event Logistics & Venue Provider): A community-powered creative arts hub based in Kuching. Providing a collaborative arts space in a revitalised abandoned building, it acts as a launchpad to highlight talented up-and-coming Sarawakian creatives, exposing them to new audiences and opportunities and facilitating their growth and knowledge-sharing. HAUS KCH constantly hosts community events. exhibitions, workshops and live performances. PROJECT PARTNERS: Friends of Sarawak Museum (Co-Curator for Day Programme): An NGO focused on promoting Sarawak’s rich heritage and culture and providing a platform for engagement of like-minded researchers, experts and interested parties. Pangrok Sulap (Collaborator): A collective of printmakers who create striking block prints that tell the narratives of Sabah’s endangered flora and fauna and indigenous culture and lifestyles. They work to build a community of young proud Sabahan artists and foster a love for print making and storytelling. FUNDERS: Sarawak Convention Bureau (Corporate Funder): A non profit organisation fully funded by the Sarawak State Government to help connect associations, corporate organisations and government bodies. SCB has positioned itself as a leading Asian convention bureau and established a solid base for clients to access government support and industry assistance. SCB’s destination marketing prowess has been recognised as worldwide best practice winning 9 international awards for its destination videos and campaigns. Mr. Philip Yong (Private Funder): A leading figure with many years of experience in Sarawak’s tourism sector, Mr. Philip Yong, who co-founded tour operator Borneo Adventure, also presides over the Sarawak Tourism Board.

Project Needs

Type of help needed


Project Cost

RM 10,000.00

Describe Needs

Cost for project as below:
Description Price/Unit (RM) Quantity Amount (RM)
 Art Materials 200 10 2000
Accommodation 150 20 3000
Transportation 100 20 2000
 Marketing 500 4 2000 
Documentation 1000 1 1000
Total cost 10000


JUNE – Launch social media platforms, highlight videos and photo albums – Approach funders – Invite collaborators JULY – Mini Expo- Workshop, Exhibition, Tamu Market, Info Booths at the Rainforest Fringe Festival (RFF) & Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) AUGUST – Promotion and Marketing – Programming – Securing of sponsorship SEPTEMBER – Promotion and Marketing – Confirmed Programme – Preparation of space OCTOBER Borneo Bengkel Creative Exchange: – 2-week long arts residency and creative exchange – 30 Bornean Creatives – 20 researchers, educators and anthropologists – 4 International Artists – Dialogues, Workshops, Studio Sessions, Exhibition, Performances NOVEMBER – Produce final report – Video and promo producti
Name Donate Amount Date
Actyvate RM5,500 July 04, 2018
Sonia Wan RM2,000 July 02, 2018
Catriona Maddocks RM2,500 June 30, 2018


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