Sama-Bajau Banig Art

The Sama-Bajau are a seafaring people, known mostly in Southeast Asia. They are often known in international media as "Sea Nomads." Many have been forced by economics to move inland and some unfortunately face much discrimination today. There are tribes who struggle to survive in the city and give up age-old livelihood traditions for jobs such as providing laundry service. Much like the diversity of family life in major cities, not all tribes are the same. There are those that still hold onto their traditions as they balance out with other means of livelihood. We can help this by supporting their banig (woven mat) art.

It takes months to make one big banig. Sometimes limited in choice, the artisans use colors readily available to them to design each mat. No mat is the same and each piece comes from their own mental visualization. Imagine being able to create patterns, and know exactly how to weave it, with no instructions, drafts, codes

With much of their lives spent in water or living above it, the colors they use reflect the array of marine life and, translated to English (for tourists), they name each mat with words like "crab" or "lobster."
We have a limited number of these available at the moment. If you are interested in purchasing those pictured here or commissioning work, please send us a message

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