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Thinking and Talking about Arts and Culture in Southeast Asia

Weekly Southeast Asia Radar: Digital pantomime, Myanmar artist charged with blasphemy

ArtsEquator’s Southeast Asia Radar features articles and posts about arts and culture in Southeast Asia, drawn from local and regional websites and publications – aggregated content from outside sources, so we are exposed to a multitude of voices in the region. In the weekly Southeast Asia Radar, we publish a round-up of content that have been scoured and sifted from a range of regional news websites, blogs and media platforms.

Here is this week’s Southeast Asia Radar:

Via Buro 24/7
Add to playlist: Singaporean and Malaysian musicians to follow and songs to listen to
Buro 24/7, Singapore

To say that music is a powerful medium is an understatement. An art form that can lift your spirits during trying times, music holds an innate ability to connect, transform, and inspire. If you’re on the lookout for new acts and sounds, look no further than artists hailing from the Southeast Asian region – Singapore and Malaysia. Ahead, our list for a musical feast.

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Via BusinessWorld
Artists helping fellow artists
Business World, Philippines

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the restriction of public movement which led to the closure of non-essential businesses. For the arts and culture industry worldwide, it meant the cancellation and postponement of shows.

While we enjoy entertainment and art at home through online streaming and browsing, artists, freelancers, and creative industries are suffering a great loss.

The loss of livelihood of artists led Fringe Manila Creative Producer Jodinand Aguillon and Festival Director Andrei Nikolai Pamintuan established ilostmygig.ph – a website that collects data on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s arts, culture, independent businesses, and creative industries.

Messrs. Aguillon and Pamintuan participated in a Zoom call by the World Fringe Network with Fringe festival managers and directors around the globe, where they discussed the effects of the pandemic on those who “rely on the gig-economy.”

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Photo: Jakarta Post/Richard Horstman
Art in a time of crisis: Lee Man Fong’s ‘Bali Life’ invites reflection
Jakarta Post

We are currently witnessing an escalation of human conflict, corruption, greed, neglect, war and global disasters. Art becomes increasingly vital in this modern era, when the apocalypse seems to be at our very doorstep.

Art educates and inspires, and prompts our imagination to assess things and circumstances in a new and alternative light. Art can destroy barriers that divide people and can identify serious issues that we must address, both individually and collectively. It empowers us to see beyond that which may erode our growth and creative core.

Art provides a soothing and welcome respite from our anxieties, and now more than ever, its distinct qualities are valuable to society.

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Photo by Apichit Jinakul, via Bangkok Post
The rupture
Bangkok Post

As founding director of Bangkok’s La Lanta Fine Art, Sukontip Prahanpap is now struggling with the impact of Covid-19, especially following the government’s announcement that it will close down museums and other public spaces until the end of this month.

“Our gallery regularly participates in international art fairs to promote our artists’ work to international audiences. With the recent escalation of Covid-19, all of the art fairs that were scheduled for spring and early summer have been postponed to autumn. Consequently, our programmes have to be adjusted to this new schedule. The postponement of the art fairs is having a major impact on my work,” she said.

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Photo: The Straits Times/Ong Wee Jin
Artists, groups find ways forward
The Straits Times, Singapore

As theatres go dark, artists and companies are trying to find alternative ways to engage audiences.

Both the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) have started offering fresh as well as archival content on their Facebook pages and YouTube channels.

The SSO recently announced its SSOPlayOn! initiative, which offers newly recorded and archival concerts online every week.

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Photo: GT2/Srey Kumneth
Turning weapons of war to symbols of peace and hope
Khmer Times

Ouk Chim Vichet: We all seek harmony and peace, but then why do people create war? How much peace do we truly desire if people are creating weapons and hurting each other? My artwork is all about trying to change people’s perception of what they see as a weapon of disaster and hazard into a symbol of unity and peace.

I want to try and end the feeling of suffering, destruction and loss of lives that war brings to people. By transforming weapons into beautiful works of art, I hope people will gaze at them and see love, humanity and peace there instead.

[Read more…]

 

Via Coconuts Yangon
Street artist charged with blasphemy for COVID-19 mural
Coconuts Yangon

A group of artists trying to raise awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic have been charged with blasphemy and subjected to online vitriol from Buddhist hardliners after posting photos of their work to Facebook.

Artist Zayar Hnaung apologized online last night, saying he was a Buddhist with no intention to of insulting Buddhism with the mural in Myitkyina, Kachine state, which shows health workers trying to rescue the world from a robed representation of the disease as death.

“The entire world including the rich and poor countries are confronted by the coronavirus. As a poor country, everyone here is responsible to prevent the disease,” Zayar Hnaung told Myitkyina News Journal.

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Photo: Padepokan Seni Bagong Kussudiardja via Jakarta Post
‘Nafas Nafsu’: Pantomime theater transfers emotion via digital stage
Jakarta Post

At a time when everyone is staying home, Padepokan Seni Bagong Kussudiardja (PSBK) has transitioned its monthly shows so it is just one click away.

Founded by the late choreographer and painter Bagong Kussudiardja, PSBK is now streaming its Jagongan Wagen monthly series – except for the Islamic fasting month of Ramadhan – on the the performing arts group’s official YouTube channel, Media PSBK.

PSBK’s second show of the 2020 series, which started in February, highlights the art of pantomime with Nafas Nafsu (Breath of Lust).

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ArtsEquator’s Southeast Asia Radar is compiled every week. All sources and credit belong to the original publishers and writers. Click here for past editions of Southeast Asia Radar.

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