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Injustice to these 31 artists by the Sabah Art Gallery
Published on: Sunday, April 25, 2021
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The Pillars site previously.
IT was sad to see that all the efforts and contribution from 31 Sabahan artists were destroyed heartlessly, but thank you to all kind strangers who placed the flowers at the now – erased project site.

Pillars of Sabah is an indecently initiated community project that utilises neglected colonial building ruins located in the heart of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, bringing Sabahan artists together to project their talents, providing a platform for artists to showcase their diverse style and talent. The site is the former Lands and Survey Building, located opposite the Suria Sabah Mall, an important landmark of Kota Kinabalu city.

Pillars of Sabah was first launched on Malaysia Day (Sept 16, 2018) – the works of 30 artists portraying various individuals from the Sabah community, both local and abroad, who are an inspiration to their fellow Sabahans.

Six months later, the Pillars of Sabah 2.0 launched in conjunction with WWF – Malaysia’s Earth Hour on March 30, 2019, where the artwork on the pillars were refreshed – highlighting threatened wildlife found in Sabah, through the artist talent of a different group of 30 artists.

The ongoing struggles from the Covid – 19 pandemic, and the subsequent community separation and isolation led the project organisers to bring yet another group of artists together– this time adding one more than previously to highlight the importance of inclusion – launching Pillars of Sabah 3.0. This edition of the project was especially meaningful as it highlighted “community” and the various qualities that individuals and the community as a whole should strive towards.

However, now all pillars have been painted white by Sabah Art Gallery, and replaced with the signage “coming soon” and “wow project”.

While this shows that the artist is not given any consideration, it can’t be denied that they and the project in general has made the capital city of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu more vibrant.

Because of them, awareness has been spread effectively among the community, and it highlights how crucial it is to express the issues we care about through visual arts and imaginations.

Because of them, they have provided every segment of the community a platform to participate, and engage in the highlighted issues in their own respective communities.

The end of the Pillars of Sabah does not mean the end of the world for the 31 local artists. Their strong spirit in unleashing creativity through artwork would enable them to go far. Stay strong 31 local artists! Your artwork will always be in the memories of all Sabahans.

Yeo Yan Yin

 

The Pillars site after it was whitewashed, rumoured to be due to the Federal Minister’s visit last week.





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