ONE is well known for her contribution to the world of international Trefoil Guilds and the special Olympics sports for the handicapped; another for her iconic presence in the field of hospitality, tourism and innovative event management concepts.
One is a pioneer professional artist of creative batik art and his works have been exhibited worldwide; the other is an architect who sits on the board of UNESCO as an international judge of the creative arts, crafts and heritage and has designed world famous cultural centres and curated international fashion shows and exhibitions.
What is their common link, you may ask? They are all proud to be Sarawakians, born and bred here and are still actively pursuing their respective fields of endeavour today!
Dayang Mariani Abang Zain
Dayang Mariani was educated in St Mary’s and St Thomas’s in Kuching, and holds two degrees, one from Hawaii and another from Essex in England. She is married to Datuk Khairuddin Abd Hamid, the vice-chancellor of University College of Technology Sarawak.
Her early years in England saw her diverse career starting in both fashion and in lecturing; upon returning to Kuching she lectured part time at Unimas until she started her own business school, CADAS, now sold to Sunway College. She was very active in UK with Sarawak students and with her lobbying managed to convince the government to start a Sarawak House for our students there. Upon returning to Kuching she worked in the Holiday Inn as the PR Manager for a brief spell.
Dayang is well known for her leadership in the Trefoil Guild, formerly Girl Guides at the international level. She was also involved in the Special Olympics for the Mentally Challenged held here recently. The Borneo Cup which Sarawak is hosting will be held here 26-29 November and special children will be competing from Brunei, Sabah and Kalimantan as well as locally.
Despite a full plate of activities, charitable and social works, as well as being the dutiful wife of a well known and active husband in the education field she still finds time to be both mother and wife to her family and husband and is very active on the social scene here and elsewhere in Malaysia. We salute a truly dedicated woman of substance and a proud Sarawakian!
Gracie Geikie is a well known character in the field of tourism and hospitality. She has spent more than 40 years in this field as well as in marketing, hotel and event management. She holds an MBA major in Tourism and Hospitality Management and a Master in Business Admin.
Her impressive credentials and CV had included CEO of the Sarawak Tourism Board (2005-2009), Associate Dean of UCSI University Sarawak (2009-2014) as well as executive positions at Damai Beach Resort and RIHGA Royal and Royal Mulu Resort.
Gracie is a proud member of the famous Geikie – the notable Eurasian family. Ancestor John Somerville Geikie was the first Geikie who had arrived in Sarawak during the days of Charles Brooke, the second Rajah of Sarawak and worked as a geologist and mining engineer for the Borneo Company Ltd (gold mining operations at the Tai Parit Goldmine in Bau, Sarawak). Gracie is married to John Robson, and has two grown up daughters. She is currently involved in her own Place Borneo Group of Companies; and have been instrumental in the highly successful events – the Miri Country Music Festival and the Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival.
She is advisor, co-author and author of three books – Rainforest World Music Festival – Sarawak’s Success Story; Parks and Art – Sarawak and Rainforest World Music Festival – 20 Years of Song and Rhythm in Sarawak.
Today, Gracie actively continues to seek new avenues and creative ways and means to promote Sarawak to the world – something which is second nature to her and we wish her every success!
Edric Ong, a former Thomian and an architect by profession is a member of the well known Ong family of Sarawak. He is 5th generation local born and in his family they now have eight generations local born living here. He is a multi-awarded Malaysian designer of natural dye textiles, fashion and crafts; as well as President of Society Atelier Sarawak and the ASEAN AHPADA organisation which administers the UNESCO-AHPADA Craft Seal of Excellence since 2000.
He is also an Advisor of the World Crafts Council Asia Pacific and Honorary Member of the World Crafts Council.
As architect Edric had designed the Sarawak Cultural Village at Damai Santubong and the Kuching International Airport. He has written a number of books including Sarawak Style; Pua Kumbu Iban Textiles; Woven Dreams – Ikat Textiles of Sarawak.
As a fashion designer and curator, he has won several awards including the Mercedes Benz STYLO Asian Fashion Award 2016; Malaysian Designer of the Year 2009; ASEAN Silk Textile Awards 2009; Australia Culture Award; World Crafts Council Award of Excellence; Japanese G-Mark Award and many others. He has curated many exhibitions in the USA, UK, Sweden, France,India, Japan, Australia, Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia .
Today Edric is busy with his role as an international speaker at conferences worldwide having also set up the World Eco-Fiber and Textile (WEFT) network to further the cause of natural fibers and dyes – of which he has been the convener of the biennial WEFT Forum since 1999.
He continues to promote the arts, crafts and many traditions of the natives of Sarawak wherever he travels; often bringing with him skilled craftsmen and women to demonstrate and further promote their unique art and culture. We wish him many more years of such commendable work and dedication.
Michael Lim began his career as a professional artist in the early sixties and has been creating wonderful batik images on all forms of textiles from silk to cotton. He has travelled far and wide and his works has been much sought after by art collectors both private and institutional, locally and abroad throughout the years.
Michael applies the traditional approach to his batik paintings – fabric dyes and wax are painstakingly worked into the fabric of choice creating a highly layered combination of colours. The piece is then boiled and ironed to rid it of excess wax, thus uncovering a finished masterpiece of vibrant colours with intricate designs and textures!
Michael’s batik paintings have been exhibited around the world and today many hang in private homes and public museums namely Sabah,Brunei,Singapore,France,Philippines,Switzerland,Australia,USA,India,Japan,Indonesia and many others.
Michael Lim Tiang Ek (fondly nicknamed Ah Aik) is without doubt one of Sarawak’s foremost artists. He was recently awarded the status of Sarawak’s Living Legend of Batik Painting. We know he will continue to uphold that esteemed award and will continue to thrill us batik lovers with his future creations!