Malaysian arts and culture sector handed Krishen Jit Fund 2021 boost


The late theatre icon Krishen Jit's legacy lives on through the annual Krishen Jit Fund, which is now in its 16th year of supporting the Malaysian arts scene. Photo: Filepic/The Star

The history books of the future will record the Krishen Jit Fund of 2020 not as a mere pandemic footnote, but rather as a heroic reminder of how certain quarters in the independent arts community - with modest resources - came through for the Malaysian performing arts scene during its darkest of days last year.

One year after the pandemic, there might an increase in performing arts recovery efforts led by the Government, but last June’s Krishen Jit Fund served as an inspiration and example to others, especially in Government agencies and corporate circles, that a statement had to be made: the arts scene would not be abandoned despite theatre shutdowns, arts grant cancellations and other bad news during the lockdown days.

The return of the 2021 Krishen Jit Fund, announced today by Five Arts Centre, is a definite morale boost to keep projects alive for arts practitioners hard hit by the pandemic.

The fund, supported by Astro and Creador Foundation, is now open for applications.

Performing arts icon Krishen Jit, who died of a stroke in 2005 aged 65, had a widespread influence on the development of Malaysian theatre for over four decades.

“Now in its 16th year, the Krishen Jit Fund was created to encourage and support experimental creative work in Malaysia. One of the main objectives of theatre director Krishen Jit’s pioneering work was to celebrate original Malaysian art, across a range of disciplines, and to pursue innovative modes of expression and intervention, ” read a media statement from Five Arts Centre, which manages the grant.

“While the Covid-19 pandemic has created profound uncertainty across all facets of life, the Krishen Jit Fund is committed to supporting the essential work of arts and cultural practitioners in Malaysia. We know artists will find ways to make exciting, potent and thought-provoking art, in spite of these challenging times, ” the statement added.

In 2021, the Krishen Jit Fund will hand out grants ranging between RM1,000 and RM20,000 for workshops, attachments and residencies, experimental productions, research and documentation, writing, the creation of new work in music, dance, theatre, writing, film, visual/ performance art, and others.

The Krishen Jit Fund has supported 68 grantees and projects sited in Malaysia over the past 15 years.

The deadline for this year’s grant is July 15. More info here.

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