THE people, places and culture of Penang as well as Malaysia and the greater Asean region will be central to this year’s George Town Festival.
One interesting programme highlighting the unique nuances of a local community is ‘The Crescent Moon: Sharing The Same Moon’.
It is an exhibition of photographs and personal narratives of the Indian Muslim community around the Kapitan Keling Mosque.
To be held at the mosque’s Dewan Makam Noordin from Saturday to Aug 31, it is a collaborative project between local photographer Mas Mohd Farid Rahman and New Zealand writer Adrienne Jansen.
The duo, aided by local researcher Mohammed Siraaj Saidumasudu and Indian Muslim Community Organisation Malaysia president Mohamed Rizwan Abdul Ghafoor Khan, went around interviewing diverse members of the community.
Male and female, old and young, rich and poor, their subjects each tell unique stories of their life experiences, memories of the olden days and their time-honoured traditions and crafts.
Open for viewing between 10am and 6pm daily, the images will be shown alongside selected pieces from the original Crescent Moon exhibition in New Zealand.
Shot by Kiwi photographer Ans Westra, the New Zealand photos document the everyday lives of Muslims living in the country and are similarly accompanied by Jansen’s poignant insights.
All the exhibits show how individuals from vastly different backgrounds are unified by their common faith and invite audiences to ponder the very concept of identity.
Meanwhile, the Totem exhibition at The Space @ 216 Beach Street features portraits of modern-day Malaysian women dressed in traditional costumes.
Photographed by Paris-based Malaysian Diana Lui, the exhibition explores past and present ideas of femininity and the roles the fairer sex play in society.
The Pixyl Fountain at 162, Victoria Street is an interactive art installation that allows visitors to play music on its motion-sensitive pads or watch it play on its own.
The piece’s LED electronics will create a stunning visual display that includes digital rainbows, rain and light clouds that will pulse to the music’s beats.
At the E&O Hotel’s Wei-Ling Gallery, the ‘More Than Friends: Asean 5’ exhibition highlights the latest wave of artists from the region, each recognised in their countries for their unique expressions.
At the MBPP Town Hall near the Esplanade, the Trees project will feature a lineup of community programmes, exhibitions, art installations, pop-up stores, talks and other initiatives that invite festival visitors to go green.
They include ‘Ancient Trees and Heritage Trees of Penang’ exhibitions, a free tree giveaway, and sales of arboreal-inspired merchandise.
All these exhibits also run from Saturday to Aug 31.
The Totem and Pixyl Fountain shows can be viewed from 10am to 6pm daily while the ‘More Than Friends’ exhibitionwill be open between 11.30am and 7pm daily.
Meanwhile, the Trees programmes are open from noon to 6pm from Tuesday to Sunday.
The Causeway Exchange programme is on again, and comprises visual art, comedy shows, short film viewings and more.
The programme is aimed at celebrating50 years of bilateral relations between Singapore and Malaysia.
For detailed information on the festival’s programmes and times, visit http://georgetownfestival.com.