Living the arts


ARTS enthusiasts will be thrilled to know that a 10-day arts carnival of sorts is currently taking place in and around the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur area.

The inaugural Kakiseni Festival 2013, which kicked off on April 22, includes theatre shows, musical performances, buskers, street parades, visual art installations, forum discussion and free workshops. Organised by arts management portal Kakiseni, there is some form of art or creative expression for all ages to indulge in – from traditional repertoires to avant-garde works.

Stage impresarios Moo Siew Keh and Ben Cutler are joining hands to curate several stage plays with theatrical tragedies depicted by renowned stage actors. Local music acts such as Aseana Percussion Unit, Reza Salleh, Froya, Bihzhu, Couple, Arabyrd, Rhythm In Bronze and many others will be gracing the sidewalks and stages daily with music collectives Moonshine and The Wknd.

Visual artists displaying their works include Stephen Menon, Liu Cheng Hua, Donald Abraham and Louise Low. The 12 art installations will be exhibited and presented through the eyes of curator Sharmin Parameswaran of Interpr8 Art Space.

If you want to know how the arts industry functions, do join in the Kata Tindak Seni (Art Talk Action) on April 29, a series of forums which features performing arts professionals, experts, critics and art makers from Malaysia and within the region. It aims to create discussions and actions that will raise the state of the performing arts industry in Malaysia.

The forum topics are The Role And Purpose Of An Arts Council, Art And The Creative Economy – Good Business? and Audiences For Arts: Outreach And Engagement.

Among the workshops being held is the puppetry and movement by Sun Son Theatre of Taiwan. Founded in 1998, the ensemble has developed a unique theatrical performing style that successfully synchronises physical movements with vocals and hymn. The workshop will be conducted in Mandarin, and a Mandarin-English interpreter will be provided for the event.

One of the main highlights of the festival is when the arts hit the streets on April 28. There will be a 30-minute performance by the renowned Odin Teatret of Denmark to kick things off, and then a massive street parade through Jalan Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur.

The group will be performing Ode To Progress. Odin Teatret has created 74 performances, performed in 63 countries and in different social contexts. In the course of these experiences, a specific Odin culture has grown, founded on cultural diversity and the practice of “barter”.

Odin’s actors present themselves through their work to a particular milieu, which in return, replies with songs, music and dances from its own local culture. The barter is an exchange of cultural manifestations and offers an insight into the other’s forms of expression.

Leading the parade will be drumming ensemble Hands Percussion. It needs no introduction, having made a mark for its award-winning performances. Joining in the fray are local Butoh trailblazers Nyoba Kan, international street performers like fire-breathing acrobats from Spanish circus troupe En La Lona, clowns, massive theatre puppets (there’s a 9m long dragon) and others!

En La Lona will also be conducting a circus workshop and all you need are three balls for juggling to participate.

The festival will lead up to the 10th annual Boh Cameronian Arts Awards, honouring the best in the performing arts industry. The event will take place at Pavilion’s Centre Court on May 1.

Kakiseni head Low Ngai Yuen said, “We want to keep reminding everyone of the values of the arts – in creating new experiences, allowing creative expressions and as an important tool in breaking down boundaries. It brings people together.

“We are also promoting arts as a functional form for business solutions so all the programmes throughout the 10 days will be brought to the attention of private companies’ decision makers.”

> All the festival events are free, but since places are limited for workshops and certain performances, reservations are required. For the full schedule, visit festival.kakiseni.com.

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