Malaysian traditional arts receive a boost with Adiguru Cendana Programme


A backstage scene from a wayang kulit performance in Kelantan. Photo: Tourism Malaysia

Applications are now open for the Adiguru Cendana Programme, a community arts programme that aims to sustain the development and ensure continuity of Malaysian traditional art forms and create partnerships with selected masters.

The selection committee is looking for individuals or groups that are well versed in the traditional art forms, including visual arts, craft, oral traditions, music, dance, theatre and storytelling.

The programme provides funding of up to RM30,000 per applicant over a period of a year, to develop projects or improve infrastructure vital to the practice and transmission of the artform.

Successful applicants will be notified in June.

The programme is a collaboration between Cendana (Cultural Economy Development Agency) and cultural organisation Pusaka.

“As a public funded cultural economy setup, and as part of the arts communities, we must continue to recognise the past, present and future contributions of our adigurus and those who champion the traditional arts from generation to generation, to Malaysia.

"This collaboration with Pusaka will help ensure the effort is undertaken in a respectful, informed, culturally relevant and inclusive way, ” said Izan Satrina Mohd Sallehuddin, Cendana founding chief executive officer.

The Adiguru Cendana Programme will also feature a "Contemporary and Traditional Immersive Programme Residency" component, which will invite applications from the wider creative practitioners to engage in a week-long residency with a master from the Adiguru Cendana Programme, at a later date.

“The traditional arts of Malaysia are living repositories of deep knowledge, world views, aesthetic concepts, and the collective memory of our people. They encapsulate the creative ‘semangat’ (spirit) of our communities, and reflect the processes of cultural confluence that have shaped all aspects of Malaysian life," concluded Eddin Khoo, founder-director of Pusaka, emphasising the urgency of safeguarding traditional arts in local communities.

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