Saturday, June 02, 2007

One week to promote Malaysia at Covent Garden. Anyone promoting art?

This year, I was made to understand, Malaysia will be having its biggest Malaysia Week promotion ever at the Covent Garden in London.

According to Bernama (see here), Britons (and tourists) visiting the event, which will be held from June 5, will be treated to a kaleidoscope of attractions.

'Malaysia Week' Promises Britons More M'sian Flavours

KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 (Bernama) -- Visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists from 66 countries annually, London's Covent Garden Market is definitely the most apt to once again become the stage for Malaysia Week to be held for six days from June 5.

Based on last year's success, the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry is bringing a bigger group with 127 delegates to showcase the uniqueness of Malaysian flavours to Britons and foreign visitors to the one of the most visited destinations in London.

According to the report, Ministry of Culture Art and Tourism secretary-general Datuk Zakiah Ahmad as saying that apart from the usual fashion and cultural shows, visitors would also have the opportunity to participate in daily interactive sessions.

"We are also bringing along a group of young dancers from Tunas Budaya Pahang to perform as the Britons love children's performances. From our past experience, each time young dancers came on stage the crowds would fill up the space to the brink," she said.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to see for themselves batik hand-painting, songket-weaving and wood-carving, among others.

As an art lover, I do hope some space is reserved to showcase Malaysian work of art. This is because art - specifically painting: oil, watercolour, acrylic, etc. - is an unofficial medium to record the history of a country's progress. It is a visual record of what the country has gone through, right from the day it was founded to its current state. This is important because this year Malaysia celebrates its golden Merdeka anniversary. What we have gone through the past 50 years have been recorded in both photography and other visual media. But nothing is more provocative than in a piece of art.

In painting, the visual record is more than just a snap of the camera's shutter that freezes the event unfolding before the photographer's eyes. When as artist paints the event of his day, he records both visually and through his personal experience and thoughts of that moment.

Just look at the works of old and you will see what I mean. Check out the works of Yong Mun Sen or Abdullah Ariff.

Who can forget Yong's tin dredge, rubber tappers or fishermen returning from sea?

And who can forget Abdullah's famous depiction of the open cast mine and miners working at the palong? Or his work of children swimming in irrigation canals? These are our heritage.

I hope this aspect of Malaysia is showcased during the week-long event.

Abdullah Ariff's Bumi Bahagia (Good Earth) - 1970

Yong Mun Sen's Pagi Hari (Dawn) - 1970

1 comment:

martin said...

Agreeably a previlege for any artist to be selected to present his/her works at this prestigious venue,hoping a wider selection will be available to allow more artists their fair chance once at least in their career,everyone should have a go,thank you.