KUCHING: The Melanau Heritage Gallery, Oya, will be a new landmark highlighting the culture and heritage of the Melanau people, particularly those from Dalat and Oya.
Minister for Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development, Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said it was the first gallery set up in the Dalat constituency.
“This gallery is a community effort and is led by the Melanau Oya Welfare Trust Board (Lakmo), which is chaired by myself.
“The community helps in terms of sharing ideas, artefacts and historical storytelling,” she said at a press conference on Monday (May 23) in conjunction with the gallery’s opening ceremony at the Baitulmakmur 2 building.
In this regard, she added that they also collaborated with the Sarawak Museum Department, including seeking advice.
“Although this gallery is a community effort, we still need expertise – in terms of artifact selection, display, and ensuring that the artifacts are durable and not eaten by termites.”
Explaining further, she informed that the Melanau Heritage Gallery, Oya was small but had two main parts, namely Gallery 1 and Gallery 2.
“Gallery 1 will exhibit artifacts related to the culture and heritage of the Melanau Dalat and Oya communities, as well as the early history of the settlement in Oya. These artifacts are a collection of heritage donated by residents of Dalat and Oya.
“Meanwhile, Gallery 2 will showcase the local community’s economy related to agriculture, fisheries and new economic activities, especially those involving young people. We also put local figures from the Melanau community.”
The Melanau Heritage Gallery, Oya will also be officiated by Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg on May 28 (Saturday) at 10.30am in Oya, Dalat.
In the meantime, she said that in conjunction with the opening ceremony, was the N.56 Dalat Development Exhibition as well as the Exhibition and Sale of Handicraft Goods at the SJKC Yak Tee basketball court, Oya.
“At the end of Syawal, a Belangger Meja event will also be held, which will be participated by 30 villages from Dalat District and Oya Sub-District. Interestingly, the tradition of preparing ‘Kepala Meja’ during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration will be brought together as a symbolic practice of house-to-house visits.”
Live demonstrations on the preparation of Traditional Food, Traditional Games, Traditional Musical Instruments and Traditional Medicine of the Melanau people in the Dalat and Oya areas are also part of the programme.
“The purpose is to introduce visitors to the cultural heritage of the Melanau community.
“The inauguration of the Melanau Heritage Gallery, Oya will be the starting point for the opening of this gallery to the public. At the same time, it will be a new icon for the Oya Sub-District and further highlight the culture and heritage of the Melanau community on the world stage.”