This is a group that you’ve probably never heard of, until now. The Banjar is the smallest sub-ethnic Malay community in Singapore, and you can learn more about them at the Malay Heritage Centre (MHC) from now till Jul 25, 2021.
Urang Banjar: Heritage and Culture of the Banjar in Singapore is the name of special exhibition that showcases the storied history of the community.
‘Borneo Insula’ by Olivier Van Noort
Featuring ethnographic objects, photographs, community stories and treasured family belongings, Urang Banjar brings together over 100 exhibits that trace the migration history of the Banjar community into Singapore, and highlights their contributions in the fields of entrepreneurship, Islamic scholarship and language.
Travel chest used on a journey from Martapura to Singapore
Most hailed from South Kalimantan where they became known for being in the diamond trade and established the Diamond Village in the heart of Singapore. Visitors can learn about the ongoing efforts to safeguard their rich cultural identity through artforms like wayang banjar and even kuih-making.
In a first for an MHC exhibition, Banjar artefacts come alive through an Augmented Reality experience set up in collaboration with students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design. The exhibition complements MHC’s annual Malay CultureFest, which returns from now till Dec 13, 2020 with diverse on-site and online offerings.
Visit the Malay CultureFest microsite where you can try your hand at making uncommonly found Banjarese dishes, revel in gamelan or wayang performances with a Banjarese twist, or enjoy a dramatised retelling of Malay folktales.
MHC also has a host of children programmes in conjunction with Children’s Season 2020, where kids can learn about the Banjar the fun way. In a tribute to the Banjar community’s roots as diamond traders, children are invited to hop on their on-site excavators to dig for hidden treasures, and to be a diamond trader for a day at My Babak’s Studio—an exhibition space inspired by actual childhood memories of two sisters whose father was a Banjarese diamond trader and jeweller.
Urang Banjar runs from today till Jul 25, 2021. More information available here.