'ADvocates Of Change' is part of the month-long art ACT! programme

  • Arts
  • Friday, 10 Apr 2015

Naga DDB Sdn Bhd executive creative director Alvin Teoh in his office.

Exploring the power of art to affect change.

After years of being labelled as the “bad guys” by cultural jammers intent on subverting their corporate advertisements for activism, the advertising guys are turning the table on them by making their own activism campaigns.

Is it a cynical marketing move, or have the "mad men" found their inner Mother Teresa?

“Should it even matter?” asks Sunitha Janamohanan, MAP Publika’s manager.

To steal a quote from advertising agency Naga DDB creative head Alvin Teoh, who has been heading various social projects including Mission Wangnee (the mud into “gold-ingots” flood relief effort) and Are Malaysians Racist? (an anti-racism social experiment): “(Ad)people are people” too.

And what many people forget, notes Sunitha, is that there is a lot of art in advertising campaigns, something that activists and visual artists can appreciate.

In what she describes as an attempt to realise her personal ambition of bringing together the three groups – Ad guys, activists and artists – Sunitha has invited Teoh for a chat session called ADvocates Of Change today at Publika in Kuala Lumpur.

Clashing heads with IPG Mediabrands creative chief Chan Woei Hern, Teoh will deliberate on the issues of whether ad agencies have a bigger role to play in society.

ADvocates Of Change is part of MAP Publika’s month-long art ACT! programme, which explores the power of art to affect change.

Various thought-provoking events are in store this weekend at art ACT!.

As freedom of expression is vital for the arts and activism, the Centre for Independent Journalism will conduct an interactive workshop Draw The Line (Freedom To Express) at 11am (Black Box) on the state of our democratic voice. This will be followed by an audivisual presentation and conversation (Performing Gender) on gender and art, featuring artists Sharon Chin and Shika Corona, and radio personality Sharaad Kuttan. 

Moderated by founder of the Justice for Sisters movement S. Thilaga, the session will dissect the performativity and manifestations of gender.

Tomorrow sees a tribute to 963 unsung heroes of the country by one of the country’s contemporary dance pioneers Marion D’Cruz (Five Arts Centre) with her participatory performance piece We Will Read These Names at 11am.

Later at 4pm, Pusaka presents The Mah Meri Of Pulau Carey with a talk by researcher and woodcarver Rashid Esa. Known for their songs and dances, the Mah Meri will showcase various traditional performances including the mask dance “Mayin Jo-oh”, which is performed to invite ancestral spirits to join in the festivities.

Full art ACT! programme at MapKL on Facebook. Art ACT! features exhibitions, performances, talks, workshops and documentray screenings until April 22.

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