Rainforest Fringe Festival 2017: Where Sarawak’s Nature Meets Art

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Southeast Asian culture doesn’t quite get enough global media attention, and very rarely, an entire festival dedicated to it, often sidelined as an exotic fringe type event. All that is about to change, as the director of Penang’s annual Georgetown Festival Joe Sidek has something new up his sleeve for the Malaysian arts scene – the all new Rainforest Fringe Festival happening this July!

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With a focus on celebrating the mysteries of Sarawak’s rainforests, the inaugural Rainforest Fringe Festival will take place in Kuching over a period of 10 days. From the 7th of July to the 16th of July 2017, the Rainforest Fringe Festival (RFF) will act as a prelude to the annual Rainforest World Music Festival (14th-16th July). The RFF seeks to produce and provide a space to highlight countless events that showcase the culture of Sarawak and its rich history, heritage and identity.

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All kinds of artistic mediums will be on show at the RFF, including avant garde installation art and exhibitions showing off Sarawak’s natural beauty by notable Sarawakian artists, photographers and designers. These will be on show at The Old Court House, with exhibitions by artists including Jimmy Nelson, an internationally renowned tribal and indigenous community portrait photographer and K.F. Wong (Wong Ken Foo), a visual chronicler of the Dayak people.

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The RFF will of course also be featuring Sarawak’s music scene, and officially launches with the Sada Kamek: Music of Sarawak mega concert on 9th July at the Kuching Amphitheatre, featuring Sarawakian musicians such as powerhouse vocalist Dayang Nurfaizah and sapeh expert and Sarawakian national treasure Matthew Ngau.

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The RFF will even host a private fashion gala at the Waterfront Hotel that will highlight Sarawak’s strengths in creating high quality creative fashion, textures and accessories in a star-studded runway show titled the Theatre of Clothes on 8th July (which will even be introducing Singaporean designer Ong Shunmugam’s latest collection, where she collaborated with traditional pua kumbu artists).

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Finally, the RFF will also hold screenings of various rainforest themed documentaries and films over the entire festival to commemorate the Sarawakian rainforest and its inhabitants, as well as a craft market featuring local, traditional craftwork over its opening weekend.

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With the RFF, Sarawak’s art scene is about to go international, and aims to give visitors a comprehensive and unforgettable glimpse into Sarawak’s culture. We’re very excited to be covering this event, and strongly believe in the significance of Southeast Asian arts and culture. Watch this space and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @bakchormeeboy for coverage and reviews of the various events at RFF this July!

The inaugural Rainforest Fringe Festival takes place in Kuching, Sarawak from 7th to 16th July 2017. For more information and the full programme, check out their website here

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