Colourful murals by 30 local artists were unveiled at the Billionth Barrel Monument yesterday.
The artists, both veteran and youth alike, were invited by Brunei Shell Petroleum Co Sdn Bhd (BSP), with support from the Culture and Arts Division of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports to showcase their talent and paint their interpretation on the effect and benefit of the oil and gas (O&G) industry to Brunei.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin was the guest of honour at the unveiling ceremony.
Human Resources Director of BSP Hajah Zainab binti Haji MA Omar welcomed the guest of honour. Also present was Belait District Officer Ramlee bin Haji Jamudin, BSP Managing Director Dr Ceri M Powell as well as government officials, BSP leadership team and guests.
Hajah Zainab said, “With its refreshed look, the monument aims to attract tourists to the Belait District as well as promote a healthy lifestyle through supporting the Seria community’s outdoor activities.” She also said that the monument is now connected to the Oil and Gas Discovery Centre via a pathway.
With the original 30 bronze relief-work removed, the empty space became a blank canvas for the artists to express their creativity. The new outdoor gallery also presented future opportunities for other local artists as there are plans to renew the murals every three to five years. “We hope that this will provide a golden opportunity and the platform for our local artists to celebrate their art,” said Hajah Zainab.
Hajah Zainab invited the guest of honour to launch the open-air gallery by revealing one of the many murals by spraying away sand. This unique method was thought of by Yasmin binti Jaidin. “I feel that there is no better way to celebrate this iconic structure by actually applying the sand surrounding this monument in the work,” she said. She noted that not only is it a sustainable material to work with and the sand will be returned to the land thus conserving the surrounding environment.
“Aesthetically, the act of washing it also symbolises the excavation and discovery of crude oil in our nation,” said Yasmin.
With the unveiling of BSP’s 90 Acts of Kindness logo as well as its motto for the celebration ‘Honouring the Past, Making the Future’, the guest of honour viewed all the murals and met the artists.
Built in 1991 along the beach-front 30 metres from the site of the first well discovered in Brunei in 1929, the Billionth Barrel monument commemorates the production of the billionth barrel of oil by Brunei’s first oil field ‘S-1’.
Following the temporary closure of the monument in October of 2018 for refurbishment, the monument was revitalised in April of 2019 and was re-opened to the public in May with a facelift of the monument and the area surrounding it.