Brunei Arts Enthusiasts Association (PeSTAB)

Rebecca Oi
Thursday, January 7, 2016

IN THE recent years, the local creative industry has become prominent in the sultanate, noticeably targeting the youth. The Brunei Arts Enthusiasts Association (PeSTAB) chaired by Awang Seruddin Haji Awang Damit has been striving to boost the industry since its inauguration in 2005.

Starting with a group of 15 people, the association has grown to 80 members specialising in all aspects of the creative and cultural industry which include craft, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts.

Speaking to The Brunei Times recently, Awang Seruddin said that PeSTAB is made up of professionals who have ample experience in their craft armed with the drive as well as the determination to succeed.

“We are different from other organisations as they would only concentrate on a specific skill set or talent. Rather, we are an association combining various genres of art and we would like to inspire and reward our members so that they could continue their creative spirits and innovation in developing it,” said the PeSTAB chairman.

He also added that the association is also in collaboration with ASEAN Puppetry Association (APA) of Brunei Darussalam headed by Hj Abdul Hakim Hj Mohd Yassin.

Both associations are active in organising workshops in puppetry in the country as well as participate in performances abroad with Awang Serudin delivering a country paperwork related to puppetry play in Brunei and performing a three-minute solo medley with puppets in Nanning recently.

Starting his career by chance as a dancer for the Ministry of Culture, Youth of Sports (MCYS) in 1983, Awang Seruddin said that he decided to form a group and this gave them the opportunity to showcase Brunei’s traditional dances in various countries around the world.

This then provided him with the idea to establish PeSTAB where all local artistes would be represented by the association.

This would be an ideal place for them to expand their personal and professional network, facilitate emerging and mid-career leaders in their careers both locally and internationally and keep up to date on issues, challenges and solutions.

“We are a dedicated team of people who have come together with the shared goal of strengthening and developing the arts in the sultanate. We achieve this by building leadership abilities, by recognising and discussing trends and new developments, and by exchanging knowledge and experiences with each other, “said Seruddin.

In addition to this, the association held their first ever awarding ceremony recently to recognise and honour PeSTAB members from the various arts including singers, dancers, comedians, scriptwriters, choreographers, poets and directors.

Among the winners were Aizuddin who won PeSTAB’s Most Popular Male Artiste and Hj Jali for The Most Popular Male Comedian Award

“The prospective recipients of the awards were nominated in terms of their activeness, suitability and performance art, among other criteria. Members of the public also had a say in deciding the winners of the many categories by voting online via PeSTAB’s Facebook page, and their Instagram and Twitter accounts under the username pestab_brunei,” said Seruddin.

When asked of the association’s future plans, Seruddin enthusiastically said that there are plans to start on a film production next year which would involve up to 50 volunteer members.

“The film will be based on a previous theatre performance titled ‘Puteri Bukit Tempayan Pisang’. However, it will be a hybrid between an old legend and a new twist in the storyline which include special effects that have not been used in the sultanate,” said Seruddin.

Seruddin said that Bruneians are gradually recognising the talents and the contributions of the local creative industry and this can assist in developing the sultanate’s industries and economy instead on depending on the oil and gas industry.

“We have two or three films which have been produced and directed by locals in Brunei and thus has assisted in showcasing our country’s creative talents regionally and internationally,” said Seruddin who has also been involved in the production of video clips and advertisments.

He urged youths to harness their potential by becoming more interested in getting involved in the local creative industry as he initially did and by doing so, succeeded in honing his craft which eventually became a rewarding career.

“I hope that the youths would eventually become agents of change by contributing towards helping in developing the nation through their skills and knowledge,” he said adding that anything is possible if they put their minds to it.

The Brunei Times


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