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Big Stories, Small Towns: Bongkud-Namaus Exhibition (Lux Gallery)

posted on 2017-09-13, 00:00 authored by Martin PotterMartin Potter, Nadira Ilana
Big Stories, Small Towns: Bongkud-Namaus Exhibition (Lux Gallery)



Emerge Gallery

Place of publication

Townsville, Qld.

Start date


End date


Indigenous content

This research output may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. We apologise for any distress that may occur.


Dusun, Bahasa Malaysia, English; English


The exhibition in Townsville's Emerge Gallery unpacked these stories into a new setting, showcasing a unique model of participatory media used in this cultural and geographic setting. This resulted in participatory video and photographic works that materially embody the production of these new forms of knowledge. Traditional stories of everyday life in this community were re-mediated through the process of participatory media, generating new and creative outcomes that include: methodologies and understandings of Dusun culture, language and history; and ways of effectively disseminating previously hidden Sabahan culture, language and history.

Research statement

This exhibition of stories and images from the towns of Bongkud-Namaus in Sabah, Malaysia at the Emerge Gallery presented an interactive installation reflecting investigations into the means by which communities can collaboratively mediatise everyday life, with a focus on Dusun and Sabahan culture. The research explores the potential for participatory media as both process and product that amplifies marginalised cultures and re-presents this findings in a unique gallery presentation. This research and exhibition emerged from residencies in the Dusun Kampungs of Bongkud and Namaus, Sabah (East Malaysia), and saw a collaboration between the researcher and Dusun and Sabahan filmmaker Nadira Ilana, as well as a production team of Sabahan creatives. The stories produced play a key role in preserving intangible Dusun cultural heritage, and address the homogenisation of Malayan cultural identities resulting from the 1Malaysia policy.

Publication classification

JC4 Curated Exhibition or Event – Other


21 days

Recognition, awards & prizes

Originally funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, FINAS-Malaysia and Screen Australia, the work was released online through the platform and between June and November 2016, attracted over 30,000 visits. Through wide media coverage, the project subsequently reached over 400,000 people, including over 100,000 views of a report on the project produced by r.age Malaysia. The work was also the subject of research-based screenings at international festivals, including Freedom Film Festival (Singapore, 2016), Borneo Eco Film Festival (2016) and the George Town Literary Festival (Malaysia, 2016).


Big Stories, Small Towns: Bongkud-Namaus. Exhibition (2017 : Townsville, Queensland)


Emerge Gallery Townsville