Cheong Lai Tong’s Muzim Negara mural, Hon Yit Sin’s role in the beloved Empat Sekawan sitcom, playwright and actor Jit Murad’s first play, Gold Rain and Hailstones, Prof Wan Zawawi’s Perjalanan Hidup and Victor Chin’s joyful watercolors of heritage buildings were each iconic works that contributed towards the growth of arts and culture in Malaysia. They are among the artists, musicians and academics who passed away in 2022. Malaysia also lost two traditional arts giants, bangsawan performer Rahman B and Prof Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof, a pioneer researcher of traditional performances, as well as Salehhuddin bin Md Salleh, a cultural bureaucrat and music lover, Lee Lee Lan, ballet dance doyenne, and poet and writer, Wong Phui Nam
When an artists or cultural worker passes away, the loss is felt by their families and loved ones and by the wider arts and cultural community in the region. As we mourn their passing, we remember, and are comforted by the legacy of their creativity and their contributions to their local and national arts communities, as well as to Southeast Asian arts practices.
In the first of an annual series, ArtsEquator commemorates the artists and cultural practitioners lost across Southeast Asia in 2022. This year, we focus on Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and The Philippines, with plans to expand the series to other countries in Southeast Asia next year.