Weekend for the arts: 'Kompang Jawa' showcase, Melaka Chetti food heritage


At The Godown KL this Sunday, Pusaka is presenting a workshop session and live performance of 'Kompang Jawa' (traditional percussion) featuring the masters of Kumpulan Anak Selangor from Sabak Bernam, Selangor. Photo: Putra Othman

TRADITIONAL ARTS: PUSAKA’S 'KOMPANG JAWA' SHOWCASE

Venue: The Godown KL, Lorong Ampang

Date: Dec 3, 2pm onwards

This Sunday at The Godown Kuala Lumpur, cultural arts organisation Pusaka is presenting a workshop and performance series of “Kompang Jawa” (traditional Malay percussion) featuring the masters of Kumpulan Anak Selangor from Sabak Bernam, Selangor

The Pusaka project, featuring audio-video documentation, workshops, community performance, and this upcoming showcase in KL, is supported by ArtsFAS (Arts for All Seasons), an annual grant programme by Yayasan Hasanah and the Ministry of Finance.

Pusaka aims to revitalise and enhance the sustainability of the authentic Kompang Jawa (Teruntung and Hadaro) traditions, older forms of kompang that are becoming increasingly rare in Malaysia. At the Godown KL, the local custodians of Kompang Teruntung and Hadaro will conduct an hour-long workshop (starting 2.30pm) and later in the evening put on a live showcase (5pm onwards).

“The Kompang Teruntung and Hadaro traditions as practised in Sungai Ayer Tawar, Sabak Bernam are in danger of fading into oblivion if there is no concerted and sustained effort to revitalise these cultural traditions. The masters of Kompang Teruntung and Hadaro are elderly - some are now in their 80s and 90s, and a few masters have passed away in recent years,” outlines a Pusaka statement.

If you're curious about kompang tradition music and the story of community behind it, this event is not to be missed.

Free admission. Registration for the workshop: info@pusaka.org

More info here.

This new book captures the essence of Melaka Chetti cuisine, featuring a comprehensive collection of recipes, cooking methods and food stories that have been in Melaka Chetti families for generations. Photo: Handout This new book captures the essence of Melaka Chetti cuisine, featuring a comprehensive collection of recipes, cooking methods and food stories that have been in Melaka Chetti families for generations. Photo: Handout

TALKS & WORKSHOP: PERANAKAN MELTING POT

Venue: Harta, Level 1, Habib 2, Lorong Mamanda 2, Ampang, Selangor.

Date: Dec 2-3

How much do you know about Melaka's Chetti community? Descending from intermarriages between Indian traders from Coromandel with local women, the Chetti community has its own unique cuisine.

Endorsed by the Unesco Malaysia Chair, a new book The Melaka Chetti Kitchen: Culinary Journey Of 500 Years has been meticulously crafted by Julie Wong and Dr David Neo, renowned writers on the Peranakan culture, together with passionate individuals from the Melaka Chetti Heritage Association of Malaysia (MCHAM).

This first-of-its-kind book captures the essence of Melaka Chetti cuisine, featuring a comprehensive collection of recipes, cooking methods and food stories that have been in Melaka Chetti families for generations.

In conjunction with the book's launch, MCHAM and HARTA, a public initiative by Habib to revive Malaysia's traditions and arts, are organising "Peranakan Melting Pot", a series of talks by experts on Peranakan culture this weekend.

On Saturday (Dec 2), there will be a talk by Neo on “The Peranakan Matriarchs” at 2pm, followed by “Terkelu Lidah: Reviving the Melaka Chetti Creole” by K. Shanmugam Raja at 3pm.

On Sunday (Dec 3), food writer Wong will conduct a talk on “History of Malaysian Food: A Brief Look At The Events & Factors That Shaped Our Food” at 2pm, after which Lily Yew will have a workshop on how to tie a sarong like a nyonya at 3pm. Those interested in learning more about Peranakan culture shouldn't miss out!

The Harta gallery space is also currently showing The Melaka Chetti Legacy Explored exhibition, which runs through Dec 10. Free admission event.

More info here.

'RhapsoD' at KLPac showcases a wide range of drummers from the Hands Percussion community. Photo: Handout'RhapsoD' at KLPac showcases a wide range of drummers from the Hands Percussion community. Photo: Handout

PERFORMING ARTS: HANDS PERCUSSION'S ‘RHAPSOD’

Venue: Pentas 1, KLPac

Date: Dec 1-3

At KLPac this weekend, get ready for all things drumming, percussion and more!

RhapsoD showcases a wide range of drummers from the Hands Percussion’s community - from DeafBeat to the young drummers from the Little Yellow Flower Foundation and the Hands Percussion Academy.

Taught by artistic director Bernard Goh and team, this is a platform allowing Hands Percussion’s young drummers to showcase the popular “24 Festive Drum” skills that they have learnt.

RhapsoD isn’t short on explosive works. The show presents six pieces, including a new composition by Olivier Tarpaga, Zamzuriah, Yuan Leow Yunn, Jimmy Ch’ng and Jack Wan featuring the djembe, a reworking of Beethoven’s classic ‘Fur Elise’ by Tan Zhe Hao to explore the rhythms of the gamelan, and a previous 10th anniversary work ‘Fruition’ (presented in 2007).

The fun on stage continues with the piece ‘Concurrent Double-Strike’, a contemporary composition by the Hands 2 group, a debut composition by Goh Kok Wei (inspired by Japanese taiko drums) and a specially composed piece for the showstopping little drummers.

RhapsoD is supported by Arts for All Seasons (ArtsFAS) under Yayasan Hasanah and the Ministry of Finance.

More info here.

'Symbiocene' is an ecopunk tale of love, grief and a wild re-imagination of a world where humans, plants and animals live together symbiotically. Photo: Handout'Symbiocene' is an ecopunk tale of love, grief and a wild re-imagination of a world where humans, plants and animals live together symbiotically. Photo: Handout

PERFORMING ARTS: 'SYMBIOCENE'

Venue: Black Box, Damansara Performing Arts Centre (DPAC), Petaling Jaya

Date: Dec 1-3

In 2025, a mysterious and highly disruptive force ruptures the boundaries between humans, plants, and animals. Under the banner of Expedisi Harapan Sembilan, three outcasts – a world-weary park ranger, a psychic, and a fungal traveller – are sent into the epicentre of this rupture, Penang Botanical Gardens, to investigate.

What will they find and how will it change them?

Written, directed and co-produced by Lim Sheng Hui, Symbiocene is an ecopunk tale of love, grief and a wild re-imagination of a world where humans, plants and animals live together symbiotically.

This play is a must-watch for fans of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy and the New Weird genre.

More info here.

A 2024 pop art calendar from artist Cultkids, who will have a pop-up booth at the Serba Serbi x Sunburst market at Muzium Negara this weekend. Photo: CultkidsA 2024 pop art calendar from artist Cultkids, who will have a pop-up booth at the Serba Serbi x Sunburst market at Muzium Negara this weekend. Photo: Cultkids

POP CULTURE MARKET: SERBA SERBI x SUNBURST

Venue: Muzium Negara, KL

Date: Dec 1-3

Another weekend, another hipster arts market. Muzium Negara (National Museum) is set for a whole new audience this weekend with the youth culture market "Serba Serbi x Sunburst", which is set to present an array of pop-up stalls and street culture activities on the museum grounds.

The event, which features local vintage clothes stores, retro brands, artists, designers, printmakers, sneaker brands, fanzine makers, toys, craft and jewellery, has a programme that is bound to resonate with a diverse consumer base.

The idea is to get the younger generation to flock to the museum, and hopefully that they find the time to visit its galleries. The marketplace, which has been curated like a street festival, will also feature a vintage rock band T-shirt exhibition, a series of deejays sets and a classic motorcycle parade.

"Serba Serbi x Sunburst" market is a free admission event. Open: Friday (2pm-10pm), Saturday and Sunday (10am-10pm).

More info here.

An artwork titled 'Nikko Understand Me' by Branden Lim. It is one of the works at the 'Art For Rare' exhibition at GMBB in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: The Star/Filepic An artwork titled 'Nikko Understand Me' by Branden Lim. It is one of the works at the 'Art For Rare' exhibition at GMBB in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: The Star/Filepic

EXHIBITION: ‘ART FOR RARE’ GROUP SHOW

Venue: Level 2, GMBB, KL

Date: ends Dec 3

The Art For Rare group exhibition, featuring the talents of siblings Branden and Jaden Lim, Ainaa Farhanah, Eugene Ngan, Nurul Hikmah, Nurhana Yusof, Priyasagaran and Tan Kay-Leigh, ends this weekend. It offers a survey of paintings, mixed media art, landscapes and abstract works made by young individuals living with rare diseases and disabilities.

At the show, visitors can discover the stories behind these resilient and creative artists.

Nurul, who suffers from Bilateral Congenital Cataracts of unknown cause, paints with confidence and flair. Hers is a rare condition that is mostly inherited from a person’s family lineage. Nurul’s vision is greatly affected, which adds a unique layer to her artistic story. Teenager Branden, who is diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), has been painting to strengthen his hands since he was two. He uses fingers, brushes and other cool tools to create his diverse artworks. Ainaa, who is also diagnosed with SMA, is another artist to brighten any gallery space and beyond with her wonderful colours, doodles and crafting.

Apart from learning about all the artists and their stories at this GMBB show, art lovers will be amazed by the range of works on parade. The showcase, presented by the community-based frienden.arts, features 80 artworks, a testament of the incredible artistic skills, imagination and unwavering spirit of these eight artists.

More info here.

A general view of Lee Mok Yee’s 'The Pyramid Series' at Rissim Contemporary in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: Handout A general view of Lee Mok Yee’s 'The Pyramid Series' at Rissim Contemporary in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: Handout

EXHIBITION: LEE MOK YEE'S 'THE PYRAMID SERIES'

Venue: Rissim Contemporary, Bangsar, KL

Date: ends Dec 17

The Back Room Gallery and Rissim Contemporary are presenting Lee Mok Yee’s The Pyramid Series. The exhibition presents a new body of work created between 2021–2023 by the mid-career Lee, comprising 15 sculptural wall-mounted and free-standing works made with mass-produced wooden pyramid pieces and mirrored stainless steel.

The works utilise wooden pyramids in varying sizes, normally used as ornamental touches on household furniture and fixtures (toppers on staircase banisters, or patterns on a wardrobe), and mirrored stainless steel cut into small triangles.

The pyramids are arranged into random shapes resembling Tetris pieces or pixellated shapes, with the mirrors affixed to different faces of the pyramids. The works, mounted on the walls like paintings yet jutting out and fabricated like sculptures, offer multiple angles for appreciation, with angled viewing offering a different effect from a frontal view. They also have a somewhat interactive or changeable element, by their ability to reflect light and the viewer’s face, fragmenting the whole into shards and bouncing off light in different ways. All of the frames have been hand-built according to each work’s shape.

More info here.

Fawwaz Sukri's 'Falling In Love With P. Ramlee' (acrylic on canvas, 2023). Photo: Handout Fawwaz Sukri's 'Falling In Love With P. Ramlee' (acrylic on canvas, 2023). Photo: Handout

EXHIBITION: 'AFTERLIFE'

Venue: Cult Gallery, Kuala Lumpur

Date: Dec 2-16

Thirty-three local artists will showcase their versions of the idea of continued existence at a charity art show themed Afterlife.

The fundraising event in support of Sisters in Islam will open on Saturday at 8pm, with a line-up featuring both established and emerging artists. Among the line-up of established artists are Ahmad Zakii Anwar, Bayu Utomo Radjikin, Chang Yoong Chia, Ilse Noor, Chang Fee Ming and Marisa Ng. The young artists featured include Binti, Amat, Dhani Illiani, Nia Khalisa, Anissa Razali, Nadia Nizamudin, Kimberley Boudville and Silas Ooi.

All works are for sale and the proceeds will be split between the artists. Sisters in Islam is an NGO that advocates equality and justice in the Malaysian family. The proceeds will be utilised for law reform and awareness campaigns for women’s rights and legal aid for women. This is the sixth year the art show is being held.

Cult Gallery is at 10A, Persiaran Bukit Tunku in Kuala Lumpur.

More info here.

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