THE KADUS PHOTO EXHIBITION
Raised in a multicultural home and knew more of his Chinese mother’s traditions while his Father’s Kadazan-Dusun (Kadus), Murut roots remained a mystery due to his father didn’t share his heritage.
After experiencing living outside of Malaysia and realizes how diverse is the world. Flanegan felt undeniable towards his father’s heritage. Determine to understand his father’s world. He embarked on his exploration of the Kadus land to discover his father’s heritage. In the heart of Kadazan-Dusun (Kadus) world.
Kadus, is a modern short slang term for the Kadazan-Dusun community in Sabah.
Wall 1 (Left)
Out of the 64 captivating photographs featured in the photobook, I have carefully selected 22 images that offer a glimpse into the remarkable moments I captured during my journey.
As you begin your exploration, the first three pictures on the left showcase the enchanting village of Kg Sugud. Just a stone’s throw away from the bustling city of Kota Kinabalu, this quaint village reveals a world that feels both near and distant. Next, we venture to Kampung Kiulu, where I had the privilege of joining local villagers in collecting leaves for their traditional herbal medicine. Lastly, we immerse ourselves in the mystical setting of Kota Belud, where I captured the awe-inspiring sight of the Shamans, known as the Bobohizan, dressed in elaborate costumes, offering their prayers amidst the depths of the jungle.
These locations marked my initial foray into the Kadus world, where three distinct regions embrace their unique ways of life. However, there is a common thread that unites them all—their profound connection with nature and their deep understanding of the forest.
This is a stark contrast to my own upbringing in the urban landscape, where I was unaware of the bountiful gifts provided by the forest—its nourishment, healing properties, and soothing sounds. Yet, as I immersed myself in their world for a few days, I grew to appreciate the intoxicating scent of the forest and the comforting melody of the nearby river.
Now, let us turn our attention to the next set of three photos on your right side.
Wall 2 (Center Piece)
As you step into the gallery, your attention is immediately drawn to the centre, where I envisioned a captivating arrangement of photographs. SuChung, the curator, asked me how I would position the images if I were in his shoes.
In my mind’s eye, I see spacious walls adorned with larger photographs, symbolizing the different stages of my journey through the Kadus World.
In the middle, the focal point stands the majestic Mount Kinabalu, its peaks gracefully veiled by swirling clouds. This iconic landmark holds great significance in Sabah and serves as an early connection to the Kadazan-Dusun communities.
On the left, we venture to the river that once served as a vital lifeline for the Central Sabah region. During the era of North Borneo, this river provided a crucial link for the Kadazan-Dusun communities to the East Coast, serving as their primary mode of transportation to the old capital city, Sandakan. It took the villagers approximately five days to reach the town, acquire what they needed, and journey back to their villages for another five days.
Now, let’s shift our gaze to the right side, where we encounter the vast flatlands of northern Sabah. Here, the Rungus community thrives, and their vibrant Tamu (Morning Market) takes centre stage. It’s a sight to behold, with gentlemen proudly donning their traditional Siga attire. Stepping into this realm feels like entering an idyllic utopia within the northern reaches of the Kadus land—a distinct part of our beloved Sabah.
These three locations each possess their own unique culture and heritage, weaving together a rich tapestry that showcases the diversity of the Kadus World.
Wall 3 (Windows)
Now, let’s turn our attention to the unique area—the Window section, divided into two distinct parts. On the left, you’ll find five captivating photographs, while the right side also showcases another set of five images.
Our journey leads us to Kampung Kinapulidan in Ranau, a village renowned for its breathtaking view of Mount Kinabalu. During my visit, I was fortunate to spend two nights with a warm and welcoming family. You’ll see glimpses of our evening gathering, filled with traditional homemade food and the host showcasing her intricate rattan works in her studio space. From Ranau, my exploration took me deep into the heart of Sabah, specifically Tongod, where I spent a memorable night. The journey involved navigating through rugged logging paths and joining elderly gentlemen in gathering leaves for their daily morning tea. The taste of the tea was unlike any I had experienced before—unrefined and fresh, contrasting the refined and smooth teas found in tea bags or traditional Chinese tea.
On the right side of the window, we arrive at our final destination—the northern part of Sabah, where I felt as though I had entered a different realm within the Kadus World. Here, I was greeted by an elderly lady in a humble village nestled amidst the lush jungle.
The last photograph marks the culmination of my journey of discovery. While I had the opportunity to experience and understand my father’s roots by exploring various regions of the Kadus World, it left me with many unanswered questions. The open land in Kota Marudu represents the lingering thoughts and contemplations that still occupy my mind. Even today, I find myself reflecting on these questions, realizing that perhaps there may never be definitive answers, just as in my personal life and art.
In a way, I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of different conclusions and the endless possibilities that arise as I continue to ponder and explore.
Title of Each Photographs
A) Climbing the Tree
B) View of Kg Sugud
C) In The Jungle
D) Portrait of a Lady
E) Crossing River
F) Picking Herbal
G) Close up
H) Sinalau Bakas
J) Interior River
K) Shy Mount Kinabalu
L) Following Behind
M) View of Mountain
N) Family Portrait
O) Her Work
P) Portrait of an Elderly Man
Q) Carrying Herbal Leaf
R) Morning Tamu
S) Friendly Kids
T) Old Lady with Stick
U) Deep Kampung
V) Open Space
Kota-K Art Gallery
Lot C-1 Laman Seni, Wisma Kebudayaan Sabah.
Asia City, Kota Kinabalu.
Curator: Suchung Chong
+60 12-838 8078
Photographer: Flanegan Bainon
+60 18 358 8470 / email@example.com