We were intrigued by Pangrok Sulap's well put together wood prints when we first found out about them. Pangrok Sulap is very successful in several levels, namely their art making process, the message they delivered, the way they engaged community and how these various aspects come together. When we learned more about them, we realised the reason of their success is so relevant yet profound - they say what need to be heard, they reveal what need to be found.
Q&A with Pangrok Sulap
B: Borneo Art Collective
PS: Pangrok Sulap
B: Could you describe your group and group title in brief?
PS: Pangrok Sulap is an art collective of artists, musicians and social activists with the purpose of empowering rural communities through art. Pangrok sulap is persistent on the DIY concept hence the slogan 'Jangan Beli, Bikin Sendiri' (Don't Buy, Do-it-yourself). The collective doesn't have definite memberships but welcomes the participation and involvement of people to work on art as a mean of spreading messages.
Pangrok means 'punk rock' and Sulap means a hut, a resting place usually used by farmers.
B: Why and how did you start this group?
PS: The collective based in Ranau,Sabah, it started around 2010 doing charity works at orphanages, homes for the disabled and schools in the interior districts. In 2012, we're introduced and learned woodcut techniques which then turned to a medium for us to spread our message through art using banners, posters, etc. We want to raise issues such as the destruction of mother nature, social issues such as education and the DIY culture.
B: Who/what influenced you to begin this group?
PS: We're influenced by the DIY punk scene where it goes against inequality and repression againts the unfortunate and downtrodden. Our inspiration comes from nature and culture around us. Social woes and issues awaken our spirites to voice them out through art.
B: What was on your radar when you were creating this group?
PS: We want people to see art as a mean of spreading clear messages on social issues around us, utilising art as a weapon to fight inequality and repression.
B: Where do you see your group evolving in the near future? What are you busy working on at the moment?
PS: Currently we are involved in workshops with communities, woodcut demonstrations and workshops with children and students. We have exhibitions around the country and working on art projects with NGOs.
B: How do you see Borneo art community at the moment?
PS: We want more involvement with the community doing projects and workshops to spark creativity. From t-shirt printing, woodcut, book binding and music, we want to attract the people to always be aware of current issues and doing positive activities.
B: How could people access your project/group at the moment? Is there
any public participation/volunteer you allow in your project/group?
PS: We often organise free workshops around Sabah and West Malaysia. You can also see us during cultural events. For further info, follow us on our Facebook page for updates on our whereabouts, future events and activities.
B: Please recommend three stories/projects/individuals/groups that we
should reach out to in order to expand the Borneo Art Collective
Magic Borneo Beads / Eleanor Goroh – telling Borneo's history and heritage through beads and beadworks.
Tukang / Johann Adam K. – . He does research, hand forged jewelry and metal smithing on Sabahan traditional motifs and patterns.
Tamu-Tamu Collective. – Tamu-Tamu Collective is an initiative to gather artist/artisans/crafters and all talented individuals making handmade/homegrown products both traditional and contemporary under one collective.
B: What would be your message to aspiring fellow Borneo Artist/Art Community?
PS: Be bold! Be positive! Don't depent too much on the government. We can take our own steps and initiatives to move forward and find success.