Norhaiza Noordin (Jah) was born in 1963 at Kampung Raja, a quiet Malay village on the east coast of Terengganu, Malaysia. It is an area that has had a long association with traditional arts & cratfts and it was in this environment that Jah was able to seek out his first guru, Wan Su Othman and his son Wan Po. Here he learnt the basics of wood carving in a busy workshop, then refinement of craft with Tengku Ibrahim Tengku Wok, and later with the brothers Abdul Rahman & Latif Long.
It was in 1992 that he began to study both the techniques and philosophy of the Malay Arts with the late Nik Rashiddin Nik Hussein, by then a respected Master of Craft. Together they traveled the Malay archipelago, from Patani to Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Sulawesi and as they traveled they sketched and documented meeting with other craftsmen and collectors. It was a unique documentation of an art that had seen little research and set Jah on a personal journey which he continues to this day.
With the support of Datin Waveney Jenkins & Badan Warisan a book was published in 2003 entitled ‘Spirit of Wood’ giving a full account of Malay woodcarving using photographs of artifacts from Norhaiza and Nik Din’s private collections and sketchbooks – it is a unique documentation. The exhibition of this book has appeared at gallery’s in London and Kuala Lumpur.
Works by Norhaiza can be seen in many private and public collections worldwide. His most recent large installation has been at the Oxford Islamic Centre.
Norhaiza’s obsession is the the continuing research and refinement of a unique craft that for him binds the mind, body and spirit as one.
His busy workshops in Terengganu continue to produce fine artworks and this year sees the opening of Bakawali Sari Warisan, a centre for study and collaboration. Here you can meet Jah, visit his workshops and gallery and even learn to carve.