KOTA SAMARAHAN (June 24): The old Government Printing Office located in front of Central Police Station in Kuching has been identified as a potential premises to become Kuching’s own art gallery, said Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
Located at the junction of Khoo Hu Yeang Street and Barrack Road, the heritage building was first built in 1908 and was renovated in 1951 and previously occupied by the former Kuching Municipal Council (KMC).
“The building has been given to us to become our art gallery, so we will engage with Sarawak Arts Society and those involved in the art fraternity on how to manage it – we don’t want the Ministry to dictate things for them, we want them to tell us on how they would want their arts to be showcased.
“When there’s anything involving art, I leave it to the artists to tell us how they want the gallery to be done, who are the people that should be appreciated (for their arts) because we know that there are so many artists in Sarawak.
“I think everyone would want to see their artworks there, so I let their committee to determine whose art should be displayed there – how to keep it continuously evolve, and changing the arts and paintings inside the gallery for the public to see,” he told reporters after visiting the Borneo Illustration and Creative (BIC) Festival held at La Promenade Mall here today.
Since the building is a heritage site, Abdul Karim said several renovations need to be done such as reinforcing the floors, and setting up the gallery will take about a year and a half once the renovations have been done.
Once the art gallery is established, he said a grand opening ceremony will be carried out.
“I requested for that place to be made as an arts gallery since there’s quite a number of other entities who want the building.
“The building itself is within a walking distance to other tourist attractions in the city such as the Borneo Cultures Museum and the Natural History Museum – so any visiting tourists can take a stroll from the museums heading towards the gallery since it is located within a walking distance.
“This will make Kuching a very interesting place for the visitors,” he added.