Who are they and what they do

The Society Atelier Sarawak is a registered voluntary organisation (NGO) based in Kuching, the capital of Sarawak. Its three main objectives are:

  • To appreciate and promote, share and acquire knowledge of Sarawak Arts and Crafts.
  • To promote the cultural exchange of arts and crafts with other countries.
  • To encourage research and study into the history and evolution of the culture, arts and crafts of Sarawak.

The Society Atelier Sarawak had its beginnings in the 1970s when a small group of women met once a month to discuss the cultural changes they were witnessing in Sarawak. The discussion group decided to focus on helping existing bodies who were dedicated to preserving local arts and crafts. The word atelier which means workshop in French, was chosen to symbolise the spirit of the group. Society Atelier Sarawak was registered in 1986, with Puan Deanna Ibrahim as the Founder President.

Atelier organises and contributes to numerous exhibitions of Sarawak craft and arts in Malaysia as well as in internationally such as the USA, Australia, France, Japan, Chile, etc… Since 1999, Atelier  has organised the World Eco Fiber and Textiles Forum (WEFT), an international professional meeting on natural fibres and dye crafts. The last WEFT forum was held in Kuching in September 2008.

Atelier helps indigenous communities to appreciate, perpetrate and sometimes revive and market their traditional craft. One of the ways that they do this is by submitting traditional craft to the UNESCO-AHPADA Award of Excellence programme (1).

Atelier was involved in the initiation of the Sarawak Cultural Village and the Rainforest World Music Festival, both in Santubong (35 km from Kuching).

What a traveller can experience

Learn about the traditional arts and crafts of Sarawak: when visiting Kuching, stop by the Tourism Information Center to find out whether there are any current exhibitions organised by Atelier in Kuching or anywhere else in Sarawak. The permanent exhibition at the Textile Museum is also a good place to start learning about the traditional textiles of Sarawak.

Buy Atelier’s publications or books about Sarawak arts and crafts: they are available at the Atelier headquarters and in some galleries and shops in Kuching.

Meet craftsmen and women and artists at the Atelier headquarters or find out if there is an ongoing demonstration at a Kuching gallery or in any of the Museums. The Society Atelier Sarawak headquarters is located in an old bungalow close to the Reservoir park. The building is currently under renovation and closed to the public.


Edric Ong, president  edric.ong@gmail.com

Moses Joseph, secretary   mj1898@gmail.com   tel : 60-82-420042  Fax: 60-82-420043

Location : Rumah Masra, Jalan Taman Budaya, 93000 Kuching, Sarawak,

Atelier’s website 

To go further we recommend

Visit the Sarawak Cultural Village: a living museum built in 1990 on a 7 hectare site at the foothills of Mount Santubong. You can easily spend half a day visiting the seven museum houses of seven major ethnic groups in Sarawak. Take your time and have a look at the traditional craft demonstrations in the longhouses.

Visit the Textile Museum housed in the Pavilion, Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, Kuching. It has four galleries on the traditional textiles of Sarawak.

Visit the Tun Jugah Foundation Museum managed by the Tun Jugah Foundation: a must see destination with a unique collection of Iban textiles. Coming soon Greenselipar’s article

Visit the Artrageously Art Gallery, 94 Main Bazaar, Kuching : a friendly place where you can enjoy permanent exhibitions of local artists, appreciate or buy local handicraft.

Visit the Sarakraft Pavilion where you can meet craftsmen and women, see a demo or join one of the craft workshops. Lot 78, Section 43, KTLD Jalan Tabuan, Kuching, 

Check out at the Sarawak Craft Council next to the Sarawak Tourism Information Center in Kuching about a Craft fair or demonstration

Related posts

The  Tun Jugah Foundation 

 EO Edric Ong was accorded the Mercedes Benz Stylo Award for Heritage for his collection and designs that best reflects the cultural heritage of Malaysia in April 2009.


Written by C.Bossis, Kuala Lumpur, 13 Oct. 08.
Permission granted to reproduce for personal use only.
Commercial use is prohibited.

(1) The Award of Excellence for Handicrafts (formerly known as Seal of Excellence for Handicrafts) recognises handicraft products conforming to the rigorous standards set by the programme and have potential for the world market. The programme was established in Southeast Asia in 2001 by UNESCO and the ASEAN Handicraft Promotion and Development Association (AHPADA) and now operates across Asia and other regions. More information can be found on their website