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03/12 Sunday 08:07AM

give them a sofa

Text by Racheal Malai Ali

“Give Them a Sofa”© Art Expo is an initiative developed by BEDB and organized by Bakat Arts Productions and supported by Brunei Art Forum. The art project combines the medium of recycled materials and readily available resources for 8 defined areas of Space or “Galleries” within the Brunei International Airport to portray Brunei Darussalam’s national identity, culture, industry and local artist creativity to both local and international audiences.

With Brunei Darussalam chairing of ASEAN 2013 Summit, “Give Them a Sofa” aim is to present an impressive Art Exhibition which will provide both intellectual stimulus and entertainment to Airport visitors.  It will also be another way of welcoming overseas delegates as well as the International Media to the country using the language of both Art as well as epitomizing the message of being an eco-friendly environment.

The concept behind “Give Them a Sofa”© Art Expo is two-fold. Firstly, Art is a language that crosses all boundaries, be it cultural or political. Secondly, the use of recycled materials is in part, a demonstration of how Art can be conceived from any medium and also to highlight the importance of recycling towards a greener environment.

The idea to call the exhibit “Give Them a Sofa”© Art Expo comes from the theory that people enjoy Art; it gives them a chance to participate, interact and immerse their senses.  In effect, an art exhibit is an opportunity for one to mentally participate in a world that enables you to switch off for a while and take in the images, the color and the subtle messages that each canvas portrays. The exhibit is therefore symbolic of a “Sofa” whereby the audience can take time out to step back and interact with the art displayed and hopefully feel inspired and enlightened by the pieces.

The Brunei International Airport arrival hall is a portal which sees many visitors, be it passengers alighting from a long journey and coming home, tourists whose first glimpse of the country is the Airport as well as people waiting to greet arrivals. With this in mind, the idea for “Give Them a Sofa”© Art Expo was to provide a platform of welcome to Brunei Darussalam. Not only this, but the exhibit aims to give visitors and tourists alike the chance to understand some of the country’s rich cultural heritage, its Malay Islamic Monarchy and its economic infrastructure, all this through the medium of Art.

The choice of Brunei International Airport as a venue is ideal given the amount of people that frequent it on a daily basis. As such, the exhibit already has a guaranteed audience, and the fact that it will also have the additional advantage of being seen by overseas visitors is an added bonus.

“Give Them a Sofa”© Art Expo is an offering that will give people the chance to escape for a while and to enjoy, ponder and question the various Art displays that make up the Exhibit. As such, it is imperative that “Give Them a Sofa”© Art Expo offers its viewing audience a wide range of different, imaginative pieces,  displayed in individual galleries and each conveying a message in accordance to their theme.

The exhibit is comprised of 8 galleries. Each gallery is laid out in accordance to a “Theme” with each theme being relevant to Brunei as a nation.
- Welcoming Wall Mural
- Brunei Darussalam Negara Zikir
- The Golden Arch
- Heritage Wall
- Economic Subway
- Recyling Rain Forest
- Fun in the Sun
-Youth Out Loud
- The Children’s Wall

What makes the exhibit that more exciting is that the commissioned artistes will also be using recycled materials to create pieces that will challenge the imagination whilst re-enforcing the message of a greener environment. Brunei Darussalam is keen to advocate an eco-friendly environment and this is a message that will be highlighted through “Give Them a Sofa”© Art Expo.

It will also demonstrate our local artistic talents and highlight different Art techniques and materials. “Give Them a Sofa” is also supported by various other organisations with generous sponsorship. Various sponsorship from tools, paints and art supplies from the Tool Box. Recycled material supplies from Daikyo and also a sofa from every embassies of ASEAN country in Brunei Darussalam will be part of the project work.

Some of the artist and crew for the art project with the management and crew of Tool Box.

“Give Them a Sofa”© Art Expo is a community project that would combine the skills of commissioned local artists as well as students from various local educational institutions to work together and exemplify the commitment to the environment and act as a catalyst to the development of a vibrant Creative Arts industry.  The displays although static; bring the message of Eco – Friendliness and Sustainable resourcing through the talented display of youthful creativity that has many intangible social benefits.

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