Beads by Ramsay Ong – Sarawak’s Renowned Fine Artist

This is about a bead exhibition by Sarawak’s renowned fine artist, Ramsay Ong. This is a brief look at a different side of his art. After all, in Sarawak’s Art Community, mention his name and immediately tree bark painting comes to mind.

So when What About Kuching 2018 (WAK 2018) released their month long calendar of event, Bead-dazzled by Ramsay Ong caught my attention. This is so not Ramsay.


Postcard Print of Ramsay’s more familiar work, painting

I am quite familiar with his tree bark paintings, as well as his work featuring contemporary ethnic Sarawak fashion. But beads? This is a different side of him, very much unknown to me.

Bead-dazzled by Ramsay Ong


Ramsay with his more prized collection.

His love for Sarawak handicrafts and beads came about while travelling around Sarawak in search for antiques way back in the 1960s.

While doing so, he came across some very finely made handicrafts and at times in awe of the quality of the handicrafts that he came across.

He showed me around the small exhibit area and here are some of the interesting ones.

United Nations of Beads

That would probably be the best way to describe the bead necklace he was wearing.

Ramsay’s bead necklace

It had beads from the middle east, from Borneo and other parts of the world which he strung up together.

It was mind blowing to know that some of the beads on this piece is believed to be a few hundred year old.

Rare Beads

Some of his collection include beads that are carved from ivory.

Such detailed carving on this ivory piece

From the looks at some of the ivory beads, they looked very old and is a confirmation that it was before the ban on ivory trade by the international society.

Pua Kumbu Laced Necklace

Laced pua kumbu necklace

This in my view is such a brilliant touch by Ramsay. Beads that are laced with the treasured pua kumbu fabric of the Iban community.

An intermarriage of craft between two iconic tribes of Sarawak, beads of the Orang Ulu and the Pua Kumbu of the Ibans.

A perfect example of the continuos interlacing and adoption of each others culture and art.

All Bottled Up

Ramsay had over the years manages to collect a few unique miniature bottles that come with tiny handles.

These tiny handles conveniently allowed him to stringing up a necklace with other beads, making it a nice evening accessory.

One for the road guys?

I though this would be great for people that love their alcohol. Looks like it is enough to fill a shot or two of whiskey.

Own a piece

The exhibition is at Pullman Hotel Kuching from now till October 28, 2018.

Exhibition hours are from 10am to 8pm. However Ramsay will not be there the whole duration.

He appears at the exhibit from 10am to 2pm and that is a fantastic opportunity to talk to him and get to know his art.

Who knows. If he is there and you find a piece that you like You might be able strike a deal with him.

On a concluding note, if you are an art lover and in Kuching during the month of October 2018, do drop by this exhibition. Definitely worth a visit.

Even though it is mainly about beads, he also has put up a few pua kumbu fabric displays and dayak antique baskets for visitors to enjoy.

Quick Facts of Bead-dazzled by Ramsay

Date: 1 – 28 October 2018

Time: 10am – 8pm

Location: Pullman Hotel Free Admission

Organiser: The Museum Cafe & Shop

Thank you for reading and thanks to Sarawak Bloggers for the lead on this lovely exhibition.

If you need extra details, drop me a line and I’ll get back to you soon as possible.

Would be glad to share more information.

Till my next Bejalai, take care.

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