4 April – 1 June 2013
South Lecture Room
The Cultured Rainforest tells the story of the rainforest on the island of Borneo and the people for whom it has been home, today and in the past. The exhibition overturns the idea that rainforests are the last virgin landscapes of the world and shows that these supposed natural wildernesses have in fact been shaped by humans for 50,000 years. We explore how the people of the rainforest have made it their home: a world full of meaning and surprise, with its own rich histories unfolding over thousands of years.
An international team of archaeologists, anthropologists, and historical ecologists conducted research in the Kelabit highlands of Borneo from 2007 - 2010 to study how people have transformed rainforests and vice versa by working closely with local Kelabit and Penan people.
The Cultured Rainforest brings the results of this cutting-edge research to a British audience. Built around a full-scale reconstruction of a hearth from a longhouse, the centre of Kelabit domestic life, the exhibition features photographs and film from the project team and 360 degree panoramas that bring the sights and sounds of the rainforest. It also draws on MAA’s rich collection of artefacts from the region, many of which were donated by Charles Hose, zoologist, botanist, ethnographer and colonial administrator for the Brooke Raj in Sarawak from 1884 to 1916.
The Cultured Rainforest is a product of a collaborative research project between Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, the Sarawak Museum and the Universities of Cambridge, Leicester, Oxford, Sussex and Queens University Belfast. It is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Interactive panoramas of the rainforest, produced by Douglas Cape of z360, can be found online at http://www.z360.com/sara/index.htm