HomeThe Paulinian Compassvol. 1 no. 3 (2009)

Ethnography on Local Cultural Act: Interpreting the Iban Ethnic Textile of Sarawak, Malaysia

Goro Hasegawa

Discipline: Ethnography



Personal Note:


After studying fashion design in Tokyo, I experienced working for a textile firm in nishijin-Kyoto, the town traditionally renowned for the textile industry. I encountered there the decline of tradition in the whole nishijin. The stifling situation led me to leave it to study contemporary art in London! Studying and practicing art at the Slade of UCL, London, I particularly specialized in installation work and learned very much about the institution of art.


Appreciating art of the third world, so-called "outsider art," was intriguing for me. My interest later related me to work as a secretariat for an UNESCO project for the preservation and promotion of traditional textiles of Southeast Asia in 2000. Then, I started to look into ethnic textile of Malaysia Borneo, especially. A total of 29 months was spent for ethnographic fieldwork among the Iban in Borneo, which continues until today. The theme of this study has consistently been searching for the interpretation of their understandings to challenge the concept of the outside-inside in art.