KUALA LUMPUR: The country’s rapid development must be balanced with an appreciation for its arts and culture among Malaysians, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
This is because art plays an important role in helping to instil national pride as well as promote unity, the Prime Minister said.
He was launching the “Seni Negaraku” art exhibition which aims to cultivate patriotism among the people.
“It is important to inculcate love for and pride in the country through works of art.
“It is hoped that this exhibition will be effective in creating a sense of national pride among citizens of this country, who have inherited a legacy of visual arts that span the generation, language and culture gap,” Najib said.
The exhibition, held at the National Visual Arts Gallery, is part of the “Negaraku” initiative with its similar goals.
To emphasise the role of the arts in the country, Najib quoted part of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj’s speech when opening the gallery on Aug 28, 1958.
The country’s founding father had mentioned how it was the responsibility of the coming generations to build upon the foundation of independence by drawing inspiration from the collected works of art which the gallery aimed to display.
“Today, as Prime Minister, I too feel very proud of the unity and harmony which we have cultivated to this day.
“This can be seen by the exhibition which marks the commitment of Malaysians from all walks of life to come together to build the spirit of patriotism,” said Najib.
The “Seni Negaraku” exhibition comprises two sections.
The first showcases 88 paintings from the public and private collections of 72 leading artists in the country, including Abdul Latin Mohidin, Syed Ahmad Jamal, Ibrahim Hussein, Joseph Tan, Anthony Lau and Redza Piyadasa.
The second section known as “Reka Negaraku” exhibits 36 cultural artefacts and 53 prints comprising daily-use items, such as matchboxes and medicine labels.
Also on display are popular cultural memorabilia, like movie posters and magazines.
Admission to the exhibition, which goes on until Sept 31, is free.
Najib later presented the prizes for the “Seni Negaraku” school-level art competition to its nine winners. Some 10,176 schools took part.