Weaving tradition with hope: Ex-convict to join Tenun Pahang DiRaja showcase at London Craft Week

For the very first time, a delegation of some 50 Malaysians will head to London as they showcase the art of Tenun Pahang DiRaja at the London Craft Week in May.

Among them will be a former convict who goes by the name of Awie.

In his 50s, Awie is among the handful of former convicts who continue to join those behind bars at the Penor and Bentong prisons as they perfect the intricate art of weaving.

The inmates are paid for their work, and once they leave the prison walls, some of these ‘masters weavers’ turn their skills into a job opportunity.

All this is thanks to the efforts of Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah.

In fact, it was the queen who landed Malaysia a spot at the prestigious festival, scheduled from May 9 to 15. Malaysian craft will be featured alongside other products from more than 250 designers, brands, and galleries, worldwide.

Tunku Azizah has been working closely with inmates at the two prisons in Pahang, for years. She has also established strong ties with the Prisons Department and is the patron of the Tenun Pahang DiRaja Foundation.

Tunku Azizah and Awie were not at the press conference at Istana Negara earlier today to announce Malaysia’s participation at London Craft Week.

Instead, Tenun Pahang DiRaja Foundation trustee, Tengku Marina Ibrahim, and Pahang State Museum Corporation director, Datuk Ahmad Farid Abdul Jalal, were in attendance.

While news of Tenun Pahang DiRaja heading to London had already made its rounds earlier this month, the press conference was to reaffirm the commitment.

Tengku Marina, an artist who is also known for her innovative batik designs, credited Tunku Azizah for the London gig.

She went on to add that Tunku Azizah had played an instrumental role in inspiring the very many designs that will be featured at the festival. Some of the designs were crafted by the queen herself.

“The theme is ‘Weaving with Hope’. It is to give the inmates hope through weaving,” Tengku Marina said.

She added that the London experience would be used as a learning opportunity as the feedback obtained from the various visitors from around the world will be used to further improve on the designs. She also said that there would be exhibitions held in the country so that more Malaysians could appreciate the art form.

Ahmad Farid hoped that this inaugural showcase would be the start of many more showcases in the future. He added that this would give Malaysia the perfect platform to not only promote Tenun Pahang DiRaja, but other Malaysian-made handicraft, as well.

Those wanting to purchase or know more about Tenun Pahang DiRaja can contact Kraftangan Pahang at +609-5384598/+609-4223811, or visit Pink Jambu Boutique at The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

Tagged with: