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Weaving economic empowerment with South-east Asia's heritage

Programme supporting traditional weaving practices in sustainable manner has resulted in exhibition

The Maybank Women Eco-Weavers programme creates economic independence and financial inclusion (above).

The Naga Wheel is a re-interpretation of a Lao silk-spinning wheel (above).


MAYBANK Foundation is presenting a travelling exhibition, Entwine: Maybank Women Eco-Weavers meets Southeast Asian Artists, of contemporary artworks by six South-east Asian artists who were inspired by the cultural history and art of the region's weaving heritage. The exhibits give a glimpse into the ancient art of traditional textile weaving.

Sheryo (from Singapore), Sharon Chin (Malaysia) and Lugas Syllabus (Indonesia) are among the six artists whose works are on display at The Concourse of the National Museum of Singapore.

Their works were created after they went through an approximately week-long residency with weavers who are part of The Maybank Women Eco-Weavers programme.

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The Maybank Women Eco- Weavers is an economic empowerment programme designed to support traditional weaving practices in a sustainable manner while creating economic independence and financial inclusion for women weavers across the Asean region.

Sokchan Sophany, a 16-year-old Cambodian, is a beneficiary who said that this opportunity would aid her in finding employment and help in providing a source of income.

Shahril Azuar Jimin, CEO of Maybank Foundation, said: "By 2018, just within slightly more than two years of project implementation, we were running Maybank Women Eco-Weavers in Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos. We were also in the final stages of identifying our partner for roll-out in Malaysia. Nonetheless from the start, we wanted to make it as Asean-centric as possible, staying true to Maybank's regional aspirations.

"Despite not having any weaving practices, we felt there was opportunity by bringing Singapore into the equation by including it as a potential convergence point for exhibitions and research. Hence we started talking to the National Arts Council of Singapore, who introduced us to Chan + Hori Contemporary which has the aim to provoke, challenge and stimulate the Singapore and Southeast Asia community through diverse and inclusive events connecting contemporary art with everyday lives."

The Maybank Women Eco- Weavers also showcases the bank's role towards a more inclusive Asean, by strengthening women's empowerment and gender equality in the region to support the Asean Community Vision 2025.

Mr Shahril said: "Economic empowerment and financial inclusion is one of Maybank's focus areas for corporate responsibility, in line with our mission of humanising financial services. As the corporate responsibility arm of Maybank, the Maybank Foundation often seeks causes that could cut across different communities across the Asean region and which could be turned into tangible programmes that could help beneficiaries become economically independent."

The exhibition, curated by Singapore gallery Chan + Hori Contemporary, will run from Aug 21 to Sept 8.