Mountain guides Robbi Sapinggi, Valerian Joannes, Ricky Masirin and Joseph Solungin lost their lives rescuing hikers during the Mount Kinabalu earthquake in Sabah on June 5.

These fallen heroes have not been forgotten, especially by a few pro-active individuals in homegrown art circles.

A charity exhibition called Remembering Ranau has been set up at Art Expo Malaysia Plus 2015 at Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

The booth, curated by Kuala Lumpur-based gallery Xin Art Space with support from Art Expo Malaysia, features woodcut prints from Ranau, Sabah-based art collective Pangrok Sulap, veteran Klang Valley-based artists Lai Loong Sung and Yip Sek Quai while self-taught sculptor Vong Nyam Chee (Cheev) contributes mixed media works.

“The idea behind Remembering Ranau is to pay tribute to the brave trekkers who lost their lives rescuing others during the Mount Kinabalu earthquake. Part of the proceeds from the works will be given to the families of these mountain guides,” says Tan Sei Hon, an independent curator, who worked on this charity project.

“We also wanted the artists involved to come up with their own heartfelt tribute,” he says.

Yip Sek Quai's woodcut on paper work entitled The Great Ranau Earthquake (2015).

Yip Sek Quai’s woodcut on paper work entitled The Great Ranau Earthquake (2015).

Ranau, where most of these trekkers came from, is a mountainous district town situated at the foot of Mount Kinabalu.

Lai, 71, contributed a woodcut print entitled 2 Degrees C (2015), which is a grim meditation on the dangers of climate change.

“The warnings about climate change and global warming have been extremely clear for a long time. My work is just a reminder of what will happen if we keep ignoring those warnings,” say Lai.

Pangrok Sulap, on the otherhand, delivered a vibrant series of woodcuts centred on the Kaamatan (harvest festival) celebrations in Ranau.

“Ours is a tribute to the people of Ranau. The works are focused on hard-working farmers, the liveliness of the Kaamatan fest and the community’s spirit of resilience,” says Rizo Leong, one of Pangrok Sulap’s founder-members, who mentioned that this daily life woodcut series is a slight departure from the collective’s socially-conscious art.

Remembering Ranau shines bright in its little corner of this latest edition of Art Expo Malaysia Plus, which runs until Sept 13 at Matrade. This art fair, now in its ninth edition, features 2,000 artworks of various styles, expressions and mediums from 70 established art galleries and groups representing over 400 artists from 30 countries.

Veteran artist Lai Loong Sung contributed a woodcut print entitled 2 Degrees C (2015).

Veteran artist Lai Loong Sung contributed a woodcut print entitled 2 Degrees C (2015).


Art Expo Malaysia Plus 2015 is on till Sept 13 at Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre, Jalan Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, Kuala Lumpur. Admission is free. For more information, call 03-7728 3677, e-mail info@artexpomalaysia.com or browse www.artexpomalaysia.com.