THE HASANAH REPORT 2022
Preserving our food, culture, and heritage
Since time immemorial, the relationship between humans and food has been bonded by fire. Across cultures, food has a special way of bringing people together. The Hearth Brought To Light: A Food-Over-Fire Festival represents those aspects, and then some.
A pantomime, traditional performing arts edutainment and cooking demonstration over a full-sized live hearth took center stage at the festival. It is one of the 107 arts showcases supported by Arts For All Seasons (ArtsFAS), a dedicated platform showcasing Malaysia’s preserved and conserved arts, heritage and culture.
It is a beautiful coincidence — as Head of Arts and Public Spaces, Zainariah Johari points out — that not long ago also Kuching became the first Malaysian state designated as UNESCO’s Creative City of Gastronomy.
On the urgency of preservation, festival organiser Marian Chin strongly believes, “It is up to us to honour them because a lot of our masters and legends are getting older…We take it for granted but it (heritage) is actually extremely fragile.”
Master parang ilang dan nyabor craftsman, Johnny Anak Barangan shares that sentiment. Having learned it from his father, he has a strong desire to keep the craft alive.
Much care was taken in navigating the thin line between learning about someone’s traditions and craft and encroaching upon the privacy of their lives.
“This is not a performance…It is an intimate thing for them to share with us about their past,” says Marian, who professes being obsessed with safeguarding heritage.
“ArtsFAS to me is not just a grant; it will change the way we expect to be entertained.”
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