Photos taken from The B-Side Dec 2014
Excerpts taken from “The Malaysian roadless trip” by Adeline Ooi & Dave Lumenta (Dec 2013, The B-Side)
On a feature wall in the Sarawak Museum is a huge Tree of Life painting done by the Long Nawang Kenyahs in 1960.
According to Tom Harrison, then curator of the Sarawak Museum and editor of Sarawak Museum Journal:
The Leppo Tau Kenyahs of Long Nawang, upper (Apo) Batang Kayan, Kalimantan, are regarded by all other Kenyahs as the top “class”, the repository of the ‘purest’ form of their culture and the centre of their oldest and most important cultural aristocracy. The symbol of this situation when I visited Long Nawang in 1945 was the great ‘Tree of Life’ painted on the wall of the magnificent house used for cimmunal meetings and rites. That house has since decayed and never been rebuilt, but I succeeded in getting the original artists to come to Kuching later and reproduced the same superb design inside the Sarawak Museum – though there is not room here to do it at a full scale.
The artists mentioned in the plaque are Bit Ncuk, Anyin, Saging, Limpan Bilung, Baya Laing and Gun Dian. They were working in Belaga constructing the airstrip there around 1958 to 1959 when they received Harrison’s invititation to come to Kuching and paint the mural.
It took two years.