Visitors checking out some of the exhibits shown at the gallery. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) is partnering with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) to host an exhibition that entails Brunei’s oil and gas journey from the early 20th century through a compilation of rare photographs.

Materials gathered for the showcase at the Belait District Museum which was titled ’Padang Berawa: A Country’s Legacy’ include a rare picture of a monument to mark the spot where oil was first discovered in Seria.

There were also several montages that include His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam from the early 60s.  They were all uncovered through BSP’s own repository.

BSP’s Managing Director Dr. Ceri M. Powell explaining some of the exhibits to the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Paduka Haji Abidin. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

The title of the showcase was also made to honour Seria, which was originally known as ‘Padang Berawa’ (meaning Field of Pigeons) before the discovery of oil in 1929.

Managing Director of BSP Dr. Ceri M. Powell in his welcoming remarks said the gallery was the company’s way to appreciate the generations of people involved in BSP’s journey throughout the time.

It was also part of the company’s internal project to digitise records into a specially curated collection of photographs aimed at showcasing the richness of Brunei’s past in a traveling gallery across the country.

BSP’s Managing Director Dr. Ceri M. Powell delivering her speech. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

“Considering the scale of the project, it is still a work in progress. BSP holds the largest archive tor the industry in Brunei. To give you an idea, we have digitized 30,000 photographs and still have 200 film reels left to go through,” she said.

“We keep unearthing precious gems in this ongoing project and we strongly believe this legacy should be shared across the nation,” she added.

Additionally, the venue for the launch was specially chosen for its historical significance; it used to be home to the British Resident before Brunei’s independence.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Paduka Haji Abidin enquiring about an exhibit at the Belait Museum. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

After 1984, it then became the residence at the Belait District Officer and was later converted to a guesthouse before becoming what we now know as the Belait District Museum.

Launching the gallery was the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Paduka Haii Abidin.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Paduka Haji Abidin (L) and BSP’s Managing Director Dr. Ceri M. Powell (R) cutting the ribbon to launch the gallery. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

The Bruneian | BELAIT

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