On July 13th, the Sabah Biodiversity Centre (SaBC) and Global Diversity Foundation (GDF) Southeast Asia Programme hosted the grand opening of the inaugural Biocultural Photography Exhibition in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Attended by community members from Kiau, Bundu Tuhan, and Buayan, members of the general public, various government departments, and NGOs such as Natural Justice, the exhibition showcased approximately 30 framed photographs taken by GDF community researchers over the past 2 years. Participatory photography has been part of GDF’s Darwin Initiative-supported project on identification of indigenous peoples’ and community conserved areas (ICCAs) in Sabah, and has enabled community researchers to document and communicate their perceptions and values of their customary ways of life.
The guest of honour, Datuk Masidi Manjun, the Sabah Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, spoke about the need for a “holistic approach” to development in order to “pass on what we have to future generations”. He noted that “it has become easy to build tall buildings, but the real challenge is how to keep a small river running.” The exhibition was supported by SaBC, GDF, the Darwin Initiative, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the Bornean Biodiversity and Ecosystems Conservation Programme.