August 23-29: Catch Panggung Rakyat and more this week

Support the arts online. There's lots to see and do!

By ANN MARIE CHANDY

The days have all been merging into each other. I cannot remember when I last drove into KL city or hung out with any of my friends doing the things we used to love doing. The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) Facebook page banner is a constant reminder to me of how long it has been since I’ve had the opportunity to be in a theatre and enjoy a live performance. “360 days without audiences” reads the banner with a stark, fading backdrop of an empty theatre hall. 

Yet, with all the doom and gloom pervading our lives, the creative community has never thrown in the towel. Visual artists, performing artists, musicians, craftsmen and backstage crew continue to find ways to pivot their businesses, crowdsource for funds or seek assistance from public bodies, reinvent themselves and move into digital spaces. 

Even senior arts practitioners and tokoh from traditional theatre and artforms are making recordings on their cellphones and using digital technology to engage with newer, younger audiences, which you will soon get to see in action on Panggung Rakyat.

In the past, during this time of the year, Panggung Rakyat used to be held on Jalan Raja in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, jointly organised by CENDANA and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL). This year, it’s back … but will be held online for now. Serving as a public arts platform, Panggung Rakyat seeks to educate, engage and energise Malaysia’s unique arts and cultural heritage through a series of specially curated authentic traditional performances.

There’ll be two shows every month until the end of the year; and each new episode premieres on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month. The themes that you can look forward to learning about include Zapin from Johor, Mah Meri (Selangor), Teochew Opera (Penang), Menora (Kelantan) and Kenyah (Sarawak).

First up, the Mek Mulung traditional theatre from Kedah will take centre stage on Aug 28. Catch the Mek Mulung Panggung Rakyat Episode @8.30pm on CENDANA’s FB page. A documentary about Mek Mulung as well as the recording of the Panggung Rakyat episode will be made available here at baskl.com.my soon after the premiere. 

Did you hear about graffiti artist and illustrator, Katun, selling his art collection on SuperFarm? NFTs are all the buzz these days, aren’t they? If you are curious to learn more about what NFTs are, then you’re in luck. Cult Creative KL is hosting a panel discussion, The Future of Creative Work: Are NFTs Here to Stay?, exploring the controversial blockchain and what it means for the future of creatives and how their works are valued, sold and distributed.⁣ Panellists include Red Hong Yi, Izeal and Faris Nasir of NFXT (@nfxt.io), blockchain expert Ivy Fung and Munirah Hamza of MalaysiaNFT (@malaysianftorg). ⁣The live panel takes place on Aug 26, @5pm via Zoom. Cult Creative members enjoy this for free while non-members pay RM35. Register here

The Blind Men & The Elephant, in Kuala Lumpur is a virtual interactive installation by Yap Weng Nam that explores the sounds of a location in the city through two devices simultaneously: the computer and smartphone/tablet. It was originally designed as an interactive audio-visual installation that takes place in a physical dark empty space, where visitors entering would get to play the role of the “blind men” in the famous Indian parable. This interactive audio-visual installation was first exhibited in Hokkaido, Japan in 2016, titled The Blind Men & The Elephant, in Sapporo. After exhibiting in Japan, Yap wanted to introduce this work in the local context of KL, and at the same time, rediscover the city that he was born and raised in. Check it out, and see if you can guess what the “elephant” is? Go to www.tbmatekl.com for instructions.

Cult Gallery presents Dunia Akhirat, its annual charity art exhibition in support of Sisters in Islam @sistersinislam.my, an advocacy group empowering Muslim women through legal assistance, law reform, advocacy campaigns and publications. This year the show will be online, from today until the end of August, due to COVID-19; previews are by e-catalogue. Featured artists include Badruddin Wahab, Bayu Utomo Radjikin, Dhavinder Singh, Hana Zamri, Amani Azlin, Paul Nickon Atia, Dato’ Sharifah Fatimah Syed Zubir and Wong Ming Hao. 

Seek to Speak is conducting a Canva workshop, in which you’ll get a chance to familiarise yourself with Canva’s user interface, publishing functions, basic design tools and free resources. From basic cropping and straightening to adding textures and color correcting, Canva’s beginner-friendly features make editing photos simple. Why not take this opportunity to upskill yourself? The workshop is open to anyone 12 and above, and takes place on Aug 25 at 8.30pm on Zoom. Register here

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