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Mah Meri Woodart

Posted by on 13 March 2011 | 0 Comments

Perhaps one of the lesser known places to visit while you are in Kuala Lumpur is the open air work place of Mah Meri (pronounced as Mak Meri) native Gali Adam tucked away in Kampung Orang Asli Sungei Bumbun, Pulau Carey in Selangor.

This huge island lies to the west of Kuala Lumpur on the Straits of Malacca is named after Valentine Carey, a former British civil service officer in Malaya.

Other attractions in the same area include the Hatters Castle, Eagle Breeding Centre and Bird Park.

This heritage island about 45 mins away from Klang town and about 90 mins from Kuala Lumpur comes alive for the few hundred Mah Meri natives during its annual celebrations called Hari Moyang.

The Mah Meri on this island comprises five kampungs (small villages) and they belong to the Senoi sub-group. Most of the orang asli are fishermen although increasing many of them are employed on the plantations and farms found on the island. However they retain their unique culture and way of life, often exhibiting their traditional dances and music. The Mah Meri are particularly famous for their haunting mask sculptures painstakingly carved out of a kind of swamp hardwood known as Nyireh Batu. Among them perhaps Gali Adam is the most famous of them all.

Adam has learnt the art of wood carving from one of the old masters living on the island and gave up his job at a nearby factory to concentrate on turning out hauntingly beautiful wooden masks inspired by visions from his dreams.