Bidayuh artist wins international art award

Abot (left) and Sandra show award certificates. – Borneo Post Pix

By John Isaac

INTERNATIONAL award-winning artist Abot @ Albot Gudang strives to continue producing quality artworks that can be appreciated by all levels of society.

In this respect, the 48-year-old Bidayuh from Kampung Singai Bobak in Bau also hopes that his creations would be appreciated by the present and future generations.

Abot, who won the ‘World Crafts Council Asia Pacific – Excellent Craft Award’ recently, regarded his talent as ‘a gift from God, received through a vision when he was 30’.

“I only started painting in 2005 as a hobby, and became active in 2010.

“I don’t have any background and education in the arts – it’s a natural ability, a gift from God,” he said when met after the awards presentation.

According to Borneo Post, the self-taught artist said his award-winning masterpiece was done on a traditional rattan and tree-bark mat.

He said he could not remember the exact time when he started his artwork on the mat woven by Sandra Trinata from Serikin, but he knew that the painting was completed in three weeks.

“I can’t exactly remember when I finished the painting, but it was not that long ago this year.

“I did the painting at my home in Kampung Singai Bobak.”

Abot also stressed that the award-winning masterpiece was not for sale.

However, he would commission similar artworks for those interested to acquire paintings made on the same medium – namely the woven rattan mat.

Pricing, he said, would depend on the size of the mat, but generally, it would begin at RM2,500 for a design on a medium measuring four feet by six feet.

Photo shows Abot’s winning masterpiece – a highlight of colours and motifs on a traditional rattan and tree-bark mat. – Borneo Post Pix

Abot said he could paint on any surface – woven fibres from sago fronds, wood pieces including tree barks, bamboo, seeds, stones, glass, leaves, shells and surfaces of any other natural materials.

“I can do murals, including those on pillars; I can make handicrafts painted with Sarawak ethnic motifs – I do all of it freehand, meaning there’s no pre-design,” he added.

Abot received the World Crafts Council Asia Pacific – Excellent Craft Award from the World Crafts Council Asia Pacific during the 39th General Assembly, held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan recently.

He was the only Malaysian from more than 50 entries coming from all across the Asia Pacific region – from the total, only 18 received the ‘Excellent Craft’ awards.