Paintings capture old Brunei scenes
| Abang Jit Manis |
RECENTLY, I visited an art exhibition, Big Ones and Little Ones (BOLO), showcasing hundreds of artworks by children and teenage artists from different countries, being held at the Art Gallery at the Dermaga Diraja BSB until February 19.
“In My World” has been selected as the theme for the Brunei exhibit.
“Water Taxi#2” shows the boats using the faster boat engines in the ‘70s, which were faster than the engines used in the ‘60s
Among the Brunei artists participating in the exhibit is Awang Osman Omar, 65, who has his own art corner at the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex in the capital.
His four oil paintings, painted in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, feature Brunei sceneries and local tradition.
“During that time, I was young and energetic. That’s why I was able to do a lot of big-sized paintings, and spent much time on them. Now, I prefer to create small painting with pastel,” he said.
“Water Taxi #1” was painted in the ‘60s, and showed the fashion of Kampung Ayer residents at that time.
“Water Taxi #2” was created in the ‘70s and showed the different types of engines water taxis used. They were a lot faster than the engines used in the ‘60s.
“Water taxis, locally known as ‘perahu tambang,’ are the only way of transportation in Kampung Ayer. I hope they will not become extinct, as what happened to the “Padian” or the women on boats who sold vegetables and other necessities in the olden days,” he said.
“Hadrah,” painted in 1968, shows the use of the traditional musical instrument during happy occasions like weddings and to welcome Haj pilgrims returning from their pilgrimage.
“It was merrier when a wedding ceremony in Kampung Ayer was accompanied by the beating of the hadrah. Young and old gathered to see the groom and the bride. I wish I could go back to the old days to record many more traditional events in Kampung Ayer, but sadly I don’t have a ‘time machine’ to do that. I can only record them in my paintings,” said Awang Osman.
A painting done in 1971 is “Tamu di Pekan Tutong.”
“This tamu in Tutong Town is long gone. I remember during my childhood in the early ‘70s, this tamu was near the Tutong wet market, and it was open during the weekend. Today, the tamu is in Kampung Serambangun, two kilometres from Tutong Town.
“The BOLO art exhibit enables me to show my creativity to the public, specially to art lovers. It allows me to interact and exchange ideas with foreign artists who conduct art workshops at the Art Gallery.
“It also gave me a chance to witness and learn from the creativity of young artists from countries around the world,” said Awang Osman, whom many visitors approached, to learn more about his art. “I hope an exhibition which showcases masterpieces such as this could be organised regularly in the future. It would certainly enliven the local art scene and make Bandar Seri Begawan merrier. I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me to join this exhibition,” he said.
Brunei Director of Museums Department, Awang Bantong Antaran gave Awang Osman his full support and encouragement.