$120m I.M. Pei Designed Islamic Gallery


Thursday, May 28, 2015

HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam laid the foundation for the construction of the new Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Islamic Exhibition Gallery (BPIS) at Jalan Pengiran Babu Raja yesterday.

Costing around $120 million, the building will be able to house nine galleries with 29 themes compared to old temporary venue in the State Mufti’s Office where it can only house four themed exhibitions.

The building, which will also serve to become one of the country’s landmarks, is slated to be completed by March 2017.

Accompanying His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and His Royal Highness Prince Hj Jefri Bolkiah as well as His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel.

The ceremony began with the recital of Surah Al-Fatihah by State Mufti YB Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Hj Awang Abdul Aziz Juned followed by a video presentation showing the interior and exterior concepts of the building.

His Majesty then consented to pour concrete into one of the building’s main pillars, marking the start of the construction followed by a Takbir lauded by the State Mufti.

The monarch then consented to tour around an exhibition showing pictures of the exterior and interior concepts of the new building after signing the memorial plaque for the foundation laying ceremony.

Briefing His Majesty on the exterior concept as he toured along was the Permanent Secretary (Technical and Professional) at the Ministry of Development, Dato Paduka Hj Suhaimi Hj Gafar who was also helped by Toh Tsun Lim, an architect from Pei Partnership Architects, New York.

Explaining the interior concepts of the building to the Sultan was the Co-Secretary of the ceremony, director of administration at the State Mufti’s Office Dato Paduka Ahmad Bukhari Pehin Siraja Khatib Hj Abu Hanifah and Jasper Jacobs from Jasper Jacobs Associates from the United Kingdom.

Besides being able to house 1,000 Islamic manuscripts and hundreds of artefacts, the building will also allow the Islamic gallery to extend its intellectual agenda to conduct research on the exhibits and spread the findings to the general public.

His Majesty was then invited to sign the memorial parchment, before receiving a pesambah and concluding the ceremony with a group photo session with the executive committee of the ceremony and members of the management of the project.

Courtesy of The Brunei Times


Thursday, May 28, 2015

ONCE the new Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Islamic Exhibition Gallery (BPIS) is completed by 2017, Brunei’s facilitation of Islamic studies would get a significant boost and will make the Sultanate a primary research centre in Asia, said the State Mufti’s Office Director of Administration yesterday.

Dato Paduka Ahmad Bukhari Pehin Siraja Khatib Hj Abu Hanifah told The Brunei Times that besides conserving and collecting Islamic manuscripts and artefacts, research facilities will also be introduced in the building to allow experts to share their knowledge beneath such items.

He said the contents and all other knowledge that could be extracted in the old manuscripts could then be verified by various experts, including in sociology and religion, before being disseminated to Muslims in general.

“Brunei is the only country in Asia to collect these manuscripts and save them, and also the first to attempt to study it, collect its knowledge and share them with other Muslims,” the director said.

According to experts, a research on one manuscript alone would take a year to be completed, but His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, has over 1,000 manuscripts, so it will take a millenium for them to be completed.

“However, it is already in our plans to involve hundreds of experts around the world to study these manuscripts at one time, so perhaps in 10 to 15 years, research could be completed,” Dato Paduka Ahmad Bukhari (pic) added.

The director also explained that the facilities to be included in the new building would not only allow them to register newly acquired artefacts and manuscripts in a catalogue but also to repair them and then digitalise them.

“So in the future, people will have no need to touch the actual manuscripts to learn them. They will be able to do so through digital copies of it,” he said.

“Interested individuals, like those who are doing their PhD research, could also use our resources and facilities. We will also associate ourselves and cooperate with some of the universities around the world,” he added.

By associating with higher educational institutions and becoming members of various bodies, the director said that they will be able to acquire some of the services from experts to help conduct research on the available manuscripts, including rare and unpublished ones.

Additionally, the director also expressed hopes that members of the public who have in their possession some of the rare Islamic manuscripts and artefacts could contribute them to the BPIS, since the facility has the capacity to retain their original state.

He added that such contributions would be valuable to Muslims all over the world since they are spreading important knowledge.

Courtesy of The Brunei Times


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