A ‘home’ soon for Sabah Art Gallery after 25 years

KOTA KINABALU: After 25 years, Sabah Art Gallery finally has its own place to call ‘home’.

Since its inception two decades ago, the Sabah Art Gallery has been shifting from one place to another, but by next year, it will be the proud owner of the RM14 million octagonal building located at Mile 2, along Jalan Penampang.

Its director Datuk Mohd Yaman Ahmad Mus expressed his excitement over the development, adding that finally he gets to see “the light at the end of the tunnel”.

“We will have space for conservation of our collections and two exhibition floors … we are very happy,” he said when met at the ground breaking ceremony of the Sabah Visual Art Conservation Centre Building, which is located close to the Arkib Negara, here, on Friday.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun launched the ground breaking ceremony. Mohd Yaman said the move was made possible through the concerted efforts of the Sabah Cultural Board under Masidi’s ministry, adding that apart from promoting art appreciation through exhibitions and educational activities, the centre will carry out the important task of storing and conserving about 2,000 works that constitute the state-owned art collection.

He founded Sabah Art Gallery in 1984, and since then has organised numerous art exhibitions and competitions over the years at several venues throughout Sabah.

Over the years, Sabah Art Gallery has used various premises including the Chief Minister’s Department, the Sports and Cultural Board Building in Likas, Sabah Museum and presently, the Wisma Budaya Building along Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman in Kota Kinabalu.

“At where we’re operating now, we can only display between 150 and 200 paintings at any one time,” he said.

Mohd Yaman said the key components of the RM14 million worth centre are the exhibition galleries which would display permanent collection and contemporary exhibitions, its conservation store and the head office for Sabah Art Gallery.

The second phase of the construction will later include a library and a multipurpose hall, while seminar rooms and workshops will be added during future phases of construction.

The distinctive form of the building with its narrow base and top wide rim is reminiscent of the traditional basket which is commonly used by the various ethnic communities in Sabah, said Mohd Yaman, adding that in order to promote the use of traditional patterns in design, the centre will display a range of ethnic motifs on its walls, a symbolic gesture to honour the multi-ethnic communities of Sabah and their diverse cultures.

Masidi, when speaking to reporters, said the 18-month construction of the four-storey building would begin immediately.

“We hope that they would adopt the Green Building Index approach to ensure the building would be environment-friendly,” he said.

He said it was a step forward for Sabah to have the centre as it would help to further promote local artists, their talents and works.

On another development, he also proposed the setting up of art galleries in all the major towns in Sabah.

“This is to promote the culture in the respective areas, besides an avenue for local artists to show off their talents,” he said.

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