Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Selamat datang ke Rimbun Dahan

Welcome to my first post from Rimbun Dahan, Malaysia. I arrived quite late last Thursday night and have spent the last few days acclimatising to my new environment (and temperature!) - unpacking, setting up my apartment and studio space, meeting the other artists in residence and familiarising myself with the extensive grounds.

View of my apartment space at Rimbun Dahan with studio underneath
After a few hours sleep I was awoken at 5am with the call to prayer from the small-mosque-with-the-mighty-sound directly across the road. We are coming to the end of Ramadhan here, and everything is gearing up towards Hari Raya this week. Not only do we have the mosque across the road, but it sounds like several muezzin are all competing with each other in the immediate vicinity, with varying degrees of vocal dexterity. And don't forget the retort of constant fireworks! At 5am there is also the added cacophany of the frogs in the huge pond next to my apartment, and also the monkeys.....

The best mosque on the block, I like it so much I have recorded the muezzin several times...
There are some traditional houses that have been re-located and restored from other parts of Malaysia on the grounds, which are used for residents and guests.

The Penang House, where Sean and Claire and children are staying

Rumah Uda Manap
The grounds of Rimbun Dahan are just spectacular, and you can read more here about how the owners, Angela and Hijjas Kasturi, are developing them to create an indigenous garden environment.

Amazing colours.....

and textures....

and some very strange fruit......
As I mentioned, I have met all of the other artists here at present, and many of the lovely, friendly staff.  I have yet to meet the owners, Angela and Hijjas, as they are currently on holiday but are due back in a couple of weeks.  I have, however, met the five dogs - Santan, Upeh, Belacan, Sagu and Samson.  And it seems both Santan and Belacan have adopted me whilst Angela is away.  They are my constant shadows, studio companions, and Santan, who has the special ability of opening doors even when they are shut, tries every trick in the book to get into my room.

Santan is making sure I don't get lost in the grounds!
As I am in the apartment block myself, located away from the other artist residences, it is kind of comforting to know that Santan and Belacan are just outside my door at night.

I have already started working in my studio and will post some photos in the weeks to come.
Jumpa lagi, Julie.


  1. Hi Julie
    good to see you are settling in OK. I'm pretty sure that your strange fruit is a nutmeg. The red 'skirt' is the part of the spice that is sold as mace.
    I'll look forward to hearing more about the residency as you go on.

  2. Hi J
    The grounds are amazing and I hope you can get some colour out of that fruit or as Leonie said nutmeg.

    Looking forward to following your journey in the tropical paradise