Work began in mid-August for the KITA! podcast team to lay the groundwork, look for contributors and plan each episode. Now in its fourth episode, the bi-weekly arts-anthology podcast, which went live in October and is available across various digital platforms, features works of homegrown writers, poets, musicians, and other storytellers.
But Lim Jack Kin, who leads the KITA! team of six as its creative director, says the challenge is to pay the contributors.
“Creative work is a valuable pursuit but it's not always compensated as fairly as it should be. Our project plans to have about 35-40 contributors and we genuinely think that making payments, even if they're not huge ones, helps keep us inclusive. If the only people who can contribute to our project are those who can afford to take the time out of their day job to do it, we lose out on a lot of perspectives and a lot of good art, ” says the 23-year-old freelance writer and poet.
Lim was among four other Malaysian artists from various disciplines who received this year’s Krishen Jit Fund at a recent ceremony held at Five Arts Centre in Kuala Lumpur. The fund is supported by Astro and SK Chambers.
“The fund makes huge strides towards working to solve that problem. It will also go towards marketing costs and compensating the creative team, who have all taken up the project at some cost to our personal and professional lives, ” says Lim, who received a RM5,000 grant.
A total of RM33,000 was given out for this year's Krishen Jit Fund, which honours one of Malaysia's influential names in arts and culture.
Besides Lim, the recipients this year were Andy Darrel Gomes, Nursuliana Sulaiman, Justin Lee Kah Wai and Sheau Yun Lim.
They were selected from a pool of 50 applicants for projects in dance, theatre, film, video, music, training and interdisciplinary works.
Introduced by Astro in 2006 together with Five Arts Centre, the fund has helped realise the artistic vision of many local practitioners.
Nursuliana, or Suzy as she is fondly called, received RM8,000 for Homes. This project is a visual art exhibition featuring three art projects that explore social inequality, and built environments.
“Three visual artists will collaborate with urban situated disadvantaged communities. The exhibition will be punctuated by talks and workshops to highlight these issues that are often purposely silenced by property developers and building authorities.
“The visual art process such as research, production and exhibition will be a conduit for marginalised communities to access the mainstream Malaysian 'privileged' public sphere. We hope that the subjective experience of an art exhibition will be gentler and more inviting for the public to experience these parallel yet hidden worlds of the disadvantaged communities," says Suzy, adding that the exhibition will tentatively take place in November or December next year.
Theatre practitioner and lecturer Andy Darrel Gomes received RM11,000 for 4 Transitional Cinema Short Films. He will be working with a group of emerging directors to develop a new mode of cinema as a response to New Malaysia.
Impermanence, a collaborative performative piece of sound, movement and spatial design by Justin Lee Kah Wai received RM5,000.
Lee, a KL-based architect, is relatively new to the art scene and has been involved in creating a few installations for art exhibitions. With his interdisciplinary background, Lee is interested in the mediation and convergence of different mediums and subjects.
Another recipient is architectural historian Sheau Yun Lim, who received RM4,000 for her Malaysia Design Archive Publication. This is an initiative to redefine arts and visual culture publications in South-East Asia. Positioned between academic scholarship, artist book and essays, Sheau and her team hope to publish well-researched works of non-fiction and art.
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