Defining Bruneian Cultural Identity Through Contemporary Artistic Practice



Since 1950, when His Majesty Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien III ascended to the throne, Brunei Darussalam has leapt into modernity. In the historical and cultural context of Brunei, modernity is not just about urban and infrastructure development, technological innovation and industrialisation. It is also about the redefinition of cultural identity, of the notions of the social self, collective identity, cultural mnemonics and remembrance of identity and traditions before the rise of western colonialism. Over the last decades, with the rapid pace of globalisation in a digital world and the development of a global urban culture and global cities, young artists in Brunei have been contesting a redefinition of Bruneian cultural identity through a noticeable rupture with the traditional conventions of visual expressions of culture and identity. Historically, artistic practice is one of the most significant forms of objectivisation of culture and identity as it frames their definitions through a social and epistemological approach. This paper analyses the discourses and narratives represented in art exhibitions and contemporary artistic practice such as painting, sculpture, installation, video-installations and mixed-media works intending to identify the markers of Bruneian cultural identity. Additionally, this paper examines the coexistence of institutional and community construct of cultural identity materialised in contemporary artistic practice and the narratives of contemporary art exhibitions.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Arts and Social SciencesUniversiti Brunei DarussalamBandar Seri BegawanBrunei

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