Proudly sponsored by Innova Art - Award-winning digital fine art paper manufacturer
Proudly sponsored by Innova Art – Award-winning digital fine art paper manufacturer

'Person of the Forest, Borneo' The Penan people and Orangutans in the Borneo Rainforest

‘LIVE’ from Borneo, September 6th to 18th 2019

  • "Orangutans share 97% of their DNA with us making them our closest relatives. They really are the people of the forest, but just like tribal peoples we are destroying their habitat and we need to find a new way forward before we lose this amazing animal and the forests they live in."

    John Dyer
  • "The hunter-gatherer Penan in Sarawak, in the Malaysian part of Borneo, are battling to stop the destruction of their last remaining forests, and their way of life. Their forests are being cleared for logging, oil palm plantations and hydroelectric dams, robbing them of their means of survival."

    Survival International
Why?

Why?

Deforestation for palm oil and logging is causing huge damage to the rainforests of Borneo. We will travel to meet the Penan tribe in Sarawak and to explore their culture, knowledge and art. The Penan children will join ‘Last Chance to Paint’ by painting and drawing their rainforest at Mulu and its beauty.

Palm oil is a super-efficient crop, meaning that we can produce a lot more palm oil per area of land compared to other oil crops like soybean oil or coconut oil. It is also less dependant on pesticides and fertilisers and is produced from African oil palms. The bad news is that these plantations are creating a huge loss of rainforest and adding many animals, including the orangutan, to the critically endangered list. We want to connect directly through art to the orangutans themselves.

Where and when?

Where and when?

The Penan live in Mulu, Sarawak and are one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes although the majority of the tribe now lives in settlements. Mulu is a world heritage area. We will be painting with the Penan tribe and in the rainforest from September 6th to September 10th 2019.

From the 11th to 18th September we will be painting and learning about orangutans. There are several reserves for orangutans in Borneo as so many have been injured or lost their homes due to deforestation. Spotting orangutans in the wild is very difficult so we will meet the ‘forest people’ at the Orangutan Foundation in Central Kalimantan in Indonesian Borneo to get a true sense of their beguiling nature and the sheer beauty of the tropical forests they live in.

Teaching Resources available to download now

Teaching Resources available to download now

The Born Free Foundation, with the help of the Eden Project and the Last Chance to Paint team have created downloadable lesson plans and teacher notes for learning about the Borneo rainforest and to follow the ‘Person of the Forest’ adventure.

What time is it there?

What time is it there?

When we travel we will be very aware of time zones and when we will be able to live stream and communicate with the schools in the UK and other countries.

The current time in the area of Borneo we are travelling to is:

What will John Dyer paint?

What will John Dyer paint?

Painting alongside the Penan people will give John Dyer an insight into their culture and visual language. Their art and the art of the Penan children will inform the artist’s work as he paints the rainforest of Mulu and the Penan people in their village of Batu Bungan.

Painting orangutans is the second part of this project and one the artist can’t wait to take on, especially after being with the Penan as their knowledge and art will inspire his work on orangutans.

What do we want you to do?

What do we want you to do?

We want you to use the art of John Dyer combined with our ‘LIVE’ video diary, the ability for you to send us questions from the children and our interactive blogs to immerse your school and children in the subject of the Borneo rainforest and to ‘travel’ with us.

The reflective space created whilst making a piece of art is the moment children will bond to the subject, learn & care

John Dyer

Encourage your children to question, connect and to then create their own piece of rainforest inspired art based on the Borneo rainforest plants and animals, the Penan people or orangutans and to upload it to our WorldGallery.online.

Help us to make real connections between peoples and to create the largest online art gallery celebrating the natural world. View the gallery now and get ready to upload your children’s art.

Nyapun is one of the oldest of the Penan being well over 80 years old and is a close personal friend of Robin Hanbury-Tenison, who took this beautiful photograph. Nyapun and Robin first met each other in the 1970s. Life has changed monumentally in Mulu and for Nyapun and his family over the last 50 years with well over 90% of the rainforest having been cut down since then. Our 'Person of the Forest' chapter of Last Chance to Paint will be a last chance for us all to meet Nyapun and an opportunity for Robin and Nyapun to see each other again. Photograph © Robin Hanbury-Tenison

Nyapun's home

Nyapun is one of the oldest of the Penan being well over 80 years old and is a close personal friend of Robin Hanbury-Tenison, who took this beautiful photograph. Nyapun and Robin first met each other in the 1970s. Life has changed monumentally in Mulu and for Nyapun and his family over the last 50 years with well over 90% of the rainforest having been cut down since then. Our ‘Person of the Forest’ chapter of Last Chance to Paint will be a last chance for us all to meet Nyapun and an opportunity for Robin and Nyapun to see each other again. Photograph © Robin Hanbury-Tenison
Nyapun can be seen on the far left of this photograph. © Robin Hanbury-Tenison

Nyapun and his family

Nyapun can be seen on the far left of this photograph. © Robin Hanbury-Tenison
Outcomes

Outcomes

By spending time painting and drawing with the Penan tribe we will all learn a great deal about the rainforest and their culture. It will be a unique insight into tribal life and a privilege to work alongside the tribe.

The project will naturally bring up the complex issues surrounding agriculture, population, commercial use of vegetable oils, deforestation for logging and how we need to urgently find a balance in the future so that ecosystems and man can co-exist.

We hope that the children who engage in the project will have a chance to ask direct questions to the scientists and conservationists working with the orangutans and to talk with John Dyer as he embarks on his series of new paintings. They will also be able to ask the Penan questions and share their drawings and paintings with the children from the tribe. This cultural and scientific exchange should build lifelong connections.

VIDEO DIARY FROM BORNEO

Day 1 - Person of the Forest, Borneo

The Last Chance to Paint team fly in over the rainforest in Borneo and head to Gunung Mulu National Park to start their adventures. Martha-Lilly, Robin and John walk through the rainforest listening to frogs and spotting insects as they head to the ‘Deer Cave’ to see 3 millions bats leave the cave to feed. They walk back in the dark through the forest and discover a host of intersting insect life.

Day 2 - Person of the Forest, Borneo

On the team’s first morning in Mulu, they head to Batu Bungan, the village of the Penan tribe, where they perform music and run an art workshop with the Penan children. The children paint ad draw their life and village for ‘Person of the Forest’ with longhouses, the forest and butterflies featuring. Martha-Lilly Dyer performs a new piece of music specially composed for the event by Jake Thorpe. Later in the day, Robin Hanbury-Tenison meets his old friend Nyapun who he originally met in 1977 when Nyapun and his family were nomadic. The family play traditional Penan instruments including nose flutes.

Day 3 - Person of the Forest, Borneo

Today Robin Hanbury-Tension takes the team up to ‘Clear Water Cave’ which is the longest underground river in South East Asia. They call into Batu Bungan the Penan village and see a poison dart tree and also try Rambutan a tropical fruit. The team discover that the Penan people don’t know their age as being raised as nomads in the forest dates were not part of their culture. Having been forcibly settled by the Malaysian government and issued id cards they have had to randomly choose a birth date and just guess their age. The team find the bones of a pig that fell into the cave and many geological features. After a hot walk in and out of the cave, the team take a swim in the river before heading downriver to Long Iman the original Penan settlement. The journey is difficult due to the very low water levels.

Day 4 - Person of the Forest, Borneo

Today the team walk to the ‘Deer Cave’ and their Penan guide Ismail explains the medicinal uses of many rainforest plants on the way and shows us the palm they use to start fires and a fern to wash your hair with! Ismail was raised in the rainforest as a boy but now lives in the Penan village of Batu Bungan. The 300 meter high cliffs welcome the team to the entrance of the cave. 12 species of bats live in the cave and every evening 15 tons of food is caught by the bats. The team find a skin shed by a racer snake and walk across vast amounts of bat poo!

Day 5 - Person of the Forest, Borneo

Robin takes the team up a ‘Batu’ to get a view over the rainforest but due to thunder, the make a hasty retreat. Robin leaves Mulu to head back to the UK and John paints the bat cave and the Penan village of Batu Bungun featuring Nyapun’s house. Martha-Lilly has another go on a nose flute. Later in the day John and Martha-Lilly head up a tower into the rainforest canopy to get a closer look at the trees and plants and spot a tiny rainforest squirrel. On the way back they discover a huge snail on the forest floor and answer questions from schools.

Day 6 - Person of the Forest, Borneo

The team leave Mulu in Malaysia to head to Jakarta in Indonesia where they have to stay overnight before taking a flight to the Orangutan Foundation the following day. This is a short video documenting the team’s travels.

Day 7 - Person of the Forest, Borneo

The Last Chance to Paint team is delayed by forest fires but eventually, arrive at the Orangutan Foundation in Pangkalan Bun and talk to the program director Hendra Gunawan about the work the foundation does. The Orangutan Foundation team take the team via 4×4 and then high-speed boat and longboat to Camp JL in the Lamandau wildlife reserve which is the base for the next few days. Ashes and smoke increase as the team head further into the reserve and the boat hits many logs as much illegal logging takes place.

Day 8 - Person of the Forest, Borneo

The team’s first day with the baby orangutans, Mona age 3.5 and Timtom age 3.5 and Adib age 3 who are all orphans. John paints the orangutans as they explore and feed on fruits in the trees. The team see how the young orangutans are cared for. A mother and her young baby visit camp JL from the forest and John captures the moment in paint.

Day 9 - Person of the Forest, Borneo

Macaque monkeys visit the camp and the orangutans feed in the trees. John paints a nocturn of the orangutans in their nests and Martha-Lilly has an impromptu cuddle from a baby orangutan! The forest fires increase in intensity and chared rainforest leaves keep falling from the sky. The team take the longboat to visit camp Gemini and explore the forest and the orangutans living there. Adult orangutans follow the team into the forest where they are fed bananas to supplement their diet. Dimas Yuzrifar the resident vet tells us about a recent rescue of a mother orangutan and the operation he performed to remove bullets from her body.

Day 10 - Person of the Forest, Borneo

Forest fires increase again filling camp JL with smoke and blocking out the sun. The atmosphere is full of smoke and the team are given masks to wear before deciding to leave the camp to take refuge in the nearby town of Pangkalan Bun. As the team head downriver the sky is full of smoke which can be seen rising over the rainforest. The rainforest is being burnt to clear it for palm oil plantations reducing even further the amount of habitat available for wildlife and orangutans.

Orangutan drawings

Chapter Sponsor<br>InnovaArt

Chapter Sponsor
InnovaArt

Innova Art has kindly sponsored our ‘Person of the Forest, Borneo’  chapter of ‘Last Chance to Paint’ and we are very grateful to them. We use Innova Art paper at The John Dyer Gallery for our art poster range and Innova Art share our passion for art, education and connecting people to the environment.

“Innova Art is wholly committed to preserving the environment for future generations. As such we ensure that all of the materials for the base of our papers are ethically sourced, maintaining the future of the world’s natural resources.”

https://www.innovaart.com

Supporter<br>Orangutan Foundation

Supporter
Orangutan Foundation

The Orangutan Foundation is kindly helping with our ‘Innova Art – Person of the Forest, Borneo’ chapter of ‘Last Chance to Paint’. Ashley Leiman, OBE, the director of the foundation is helping us to plan and be able to see orangutans at the Lamandau wildlife reserve.

“The Orangutan Foundation runs its own programmes in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. We work in collaboration with The Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry We place a strong emphasis on capacity building of key stakeholders who include local communities, local NGO’s, local business and regional government. With their inclusion comes conservation success and sustainability.”

https://www.orangutan.org.uk

Supporter<br>Steppes Travel

Supporter
Steppes Travel

Steppes Travel have very kindly supported ‘Person of the Forest’ and the Last Chance to Paint team with their expert knowledge, advice and generous sponsorship. Steppes Travel have many working partners around the world that are involved in protecting the environment, including the Orangutan Foundation,  and we are thrilled to be working with them.

“Conservation, sustainability and giving back is at the core of everything we do. Find out more.”

https://www.steppestravel.com

“WE BELIEVE THAT ART CAN HELP TO CHANGE THE WORLD”


Are you already inspired to paint, draw, collage or create on the subject of 'Person of the Rainforest, Borneo'?


If you are already itching to get creative and to connect to the subject of ‘Person of the Forest’ through art then don’t hold back! You can send us your very best art already and we will proudly celebrate it on our online gallery for you. We do have some terms and conditions you will need to read before submitting your art and all art must be submitted by an adult. We are looking for your absolutely best work, something you will be proud to put on your wall at home and to see online in ten years time – so make it fantastic and make it from the heart. We can’t wait to see what you do.