Of Gawai and Gawea

It’s that time of the year again when the harvest festival is back! Celebrated by the Dayak community in Sarawak on June 1st of every year, the Gawai festival is a holiday much anticipated by not only native Borneans but also our non-native brethren. Gawai itself means festival in the Iban language. Before the 60s,… Continue reading Of Gawai and Gawea

Evolution of the Kenyah cosmology

The Kenyahs are highly artistic people living in the interiors of Borneo. Unlike their Orang Ulu counterpart the Kayan, Kenyah is a collective term for groups of people sharing a similar culture and linguistic origin, yet distinct from the Kayan. Oral traditions has it that the Kenyahs arrived from across the sea (China?) and landed… Continue reading Evolution of the Kenyah cosmology

The Kenyah Peselai, and the aftermath of Konfrontasi

A Kenyah peselai group, 1930, with Dutch photographer HF Tillema Peselai, an ancient ritual of the Kenyahs of Borneo, is a coming of age journey undertaken by men to discover new lands, wealth and trading. It is the equivalent of the Iban’s bejalai. … peselai is a rite of passage with deep roots to the… Continue reading The Kenyah Peselai, and the aftermath of Konfrontasi

Mural Painted by Long Nawang Kenyahs, 1960

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… Continue reading Mural Painted by Long Nawang Kenyahs, 1960