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HARMONY IN DIVERSITY:
ASEAN SQUARE AT DAMUAN RECREATIONAL PARK


Introduction

A sculpture is admired by some people for its refinedment or beauty alone, while others not only laud its aesthetic aspect but also appreciate its abstract messages and concepts.

Thus, like any artist, a sculptor requires a lot of talent and skill to create a piece of work that draws the desired attention from viewers.

Although sculpting is one art form that is not yet widely pracised in Brunei Darussalam, there are a number of artists who can make sculptures like any other. Examples of their creations can be seen at the ASEAN Squares in the ASEAN member countries.

The ASEAN Square in Brunei Darussalam is enclosed within the Persiaran Damuan (Damuan Recreational Park), which is a one-kilometer long stretch of land sandwiched between the Bandar Seri Begawan-Tutong Road and the Damuan River, about 4 1/2 kilometer from the heart of the capital.

The square has on display the work of a sculptor from each of the original six ASEAN member countries, namely Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.

The sculptures, which have as their theme "Harmony in Diversity" symbolize ASEAN solidarity and the aspirations of its member countries, which is love, peace, freedom and mutual respect.

They were completed during the Fourth ASEAN Square Sculpture Symposium, which lasted from11th January to 24th February 1986. Each sculptor was assisted by four students of the Jefri Bolkiah College of Engineering and the Sultan Saiful Rijal Teachnical College. Besides working on their projects, the sculptors gave talks of the various aspects of their arts.

The sculptures, which were open to the public following a ceremony officiated by the then Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, the Honourable Pehin Orang Kaya Digadong Seri Lela Dato Seri Paduka Haji Awang Hussain, on 12th December 1987, range in height from 3 metres to nearly 6.5 metres, with the heaviest weighing several tons.

The diverse concepts of the sculptures reveal the sculptors' inner thoughts and their great sense of creativity in the ASEAN context.

Brunei Darussalam - the World of ASEAN

"The World of ASEAN" is the title of Brunei Darussalam's sculpture by 42 year old Mr Haji Marsidi Haji Akip, whose concept is: "the idea was built around the formation of ASEAN. There was a country represented by the square shape and the idea to form an organisation by regional grouping of neighbouring countries. The organisation gradually spreads in the region and developed into ASEAN. The differences in direction (inward and outward) of every unit in the structure shows the internal diversity of political, cultural, social, economic and various aspects of life of each member country in ASEAN. The whole arrangements of the units were designed in such a way so that maximum aesthetic values can be attained. The structure has been arranged in a semi circle shape to show various stages of the growth of ASEAN".

Indonesia - the Goals of ASEAN

Indonesia's Mr Husna, a 50 year old freelance sulptor, entitled his work "the Goals of ASEAN" with the concept: "Art is part of human life. The aesthetic value in it is universal. Thus, anyone can enjoy the beauty of art regardless of race and nation. The sculpture contains not only the beauty of the universe but also to depict the unity of ASEAN. The idea is a tree with six fruits which stands on a square base symbolising the future growth of cooperation between ASEAN countries in building the future of peace and mutual understanding towards the mutual goal of welfare and harmony".

Malaysia - the Emerging Kubah

Malaysia's Mr. Latif Mohiddin, who is 57 and not only a sculptor but also a painter and a poet, chose "the Emerging Kubah (Domes)" as the title of his sculpture whose cocept is: "to achieve a harmonious relationship between two symmetrical halves of nature. By continual repetition to balance its descending and ascending energies.

  • in plants, it is represented by the blade of a leaf
  • in Malay arts and crafts, it is represented by the 'corak pucuk rebung
  • in Islamic geometrical design, it is represented by the 'arch'
  • in human society, it is represented by the growth of a new nation and thealth quality of life.

Philippines - Brunei Entelechy

Brunei Entelechy is the title of the Philippines sculptor by a 53 year old sculptor, painter and art jeweller named Mr Eduardo Castrillo, whose concept is: "in the artist-sculptor's characteristic style of abstract expressionism, this free standing environmental (public art) sculpture faces the sunrise and the Royal Palace as in a gesture of tribute. The motf of the Muslim crescent moon is adapted to signify the value of tradition, and then this motif is structurally extended into a continuum of swirling forms that assume the symbolism of atomic energy which is in turn evocative of the impetus of modern development. Finally the the overall composition into a unified whole bespeaks the harmony of a nation among nations. Thus the sculpture is a symbolic interpretation of Brunei entellechy (or the realized state of potentialities tha t is Brunei's in the context of ASEAN.

Singapore - United Profile

Singaporean sculptor, 53 year old Mr MichaelOng Chu Keng, who is also a designer called his sculptor "United Profle" and his explaned his concept: "A free standing sculpture is like a tree growing verically upright. There are six forms representing the six ASEAN member countries' growth and unity. Brunei Darussalam, being the host and the latest country to join ASEAN, takes up the position at the top form. It is shaped like a crown and indicating royalty with its background overlooking the royal palace - Istana Nurul Iman."

Thailand - Movement

Last but not least is the sculpture of Thailand entitled "Movement" by Mr Saravudth Duangjumpa, a 43 year old teacher, whose concept is: "the sculpture has been created in order to reflect the concept of "Harmony in Diversity" by means of using different feeling of geometric and organic lives to compose the space and form of harmonisation of movement which expresses and reflects or symbolises the ASEAN activities and also the feeling of encouragement. The composition into masses of the sculpture reflects the nature of mankind that should not stay isolated."

The first ASEAN Square Sculpture Symposium was held at Fort Canning Park in Singapore in 1981.


Article written by: Mohammad Deli bin Ahmad, 1994
Source: Brunei Today published by the Information Department, 1994.


   









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