KOTA KINABALU: The controversy surrounding the Pillars of Sabah (POS), a community art initiative in the state capital, has been resolved after intervention by the state government.
Tourism, culture and environment minister Jafry Ariffin called the parties involved yesterday to sort out all differences regarding the removal of the third edition of the POS (POS 3.0).
Those present included the ministry’s permanent secretary, Jamili Nais, Sabah Art Gallery (SAG) director Jeniffer Linggi, POS 3.0 co-founders Jared Abdul Rahman and Ramzah Dambul, and a few artists.
Linggi admitted SAG’s weaknesses and apologised to the artists, who had not been informed before their works were removed on the weekend of April 17 and 18.
Jafry said there was always room for improvement. “A lesson is learned for SAG and now they can move forward for the upcoming Wonders of Wilderness project,” he said in a statement following the meeting.
He hoped the incident would not deter the artists from contributing to the art scene, and said they were welcome to propose ideas to SAG to “ensure that the industry continues to thrive in the state”.
Jared had criticised SAG last week, saying the removal of the artwork from the site without informing the artists was an example of government departments “bullying” the people.
He said although SAG, as the landowner, could do what it wished with the site, it should have informed the artists of its intention to remove the artwork.
Social media had been awash with photos showing that the paintings on the 30 columns and one wall of the former colonial building had vanished, after having been repainted in white.