Franki Raden via Jakarta Post

Weekly Southeast Asia Radar: “Fried Rice” nominated for Eisner; Celebrating indigenous music in Indonesia

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:


JK Anicoche, Virgin Labfest 2020 artistic director. Photo: JK Anicoche via ABS-CBN
Virgin Labfest 2020 makes theater history by streaming on Vimeo, Facebook
ABS-CBN News, The Philippines

MANILA — Whether you’re in quarantine in New York City or somewhere on New York Street in Cubao, Quezon City, there’s no more excuse to miss Virgin Labfest 2020, the annual festival of untried, unstaged and untested plays.

For the past 15 years, the festival has been held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino and Tanghalang Huseng Batute. Now, the plays are made accessible online via the CCP’s official Vimeo and Facebook accounts.

Audience members now have the luxury to drink coffee, milk tea or whisky, depending upon their mood and the effect of a specific play.

There are 15 new plays, comprised of 10 featured works and five staged readings. There are also the three revisited plays from last year’s festival.

[Read more…]



The importance and power of the arts during a global pandemic
Southeast Asia Globe (Registration needed) 

The value of the arts is a topic that has endured long-standing debate. It has faced contemplations by figures ranging from Plato and Oscar Wilde who posed arguments about art’s ability to mimic life, to contemporary artists like The Beatles whose influential music prompted reflections on the democratisation of art to the masses.

Today, given our pandemic reality, the discourse surrounding the value of art has become even more pertinent.

Undeniably, the arts have found new ways to dominate our lives during Covid-19, even if in unexpected ways. Around the world, museums have shifted their galleries online to provide virtual tours of hallowed halls and timeless works of art in a bid to continue the legacy of knowledge sharing despite physical restrictions imposed by lockdowns.

[Read more…]


Picture from Tumblr/Erica Eng. Via Malay Mail
Malaysian life in comics: Webcomic by female Batu Pahat illustrator nominated for prestigious Eisner Award
Malay Mail, Malaysia

PETALING JAYA, June 5 — Malaysian animator and illustrator Erica Eng has been nominated for a Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the comics industry’s Oscar equivalent.

Eng’s work titled Fried Rice received a nomination for the Best Webcomic category alongside five other nominees.

The plot of the charming webcomic centres around a young girl from Batu Pahat, Johor named Min who visits her cousin in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur while applying to an art school in New York.

Readers are given a glimpse into daily Malaysian life from sudden tropical downpours to familiar colloquialisms.

[Read more…]


Peranakan theatre pioneer, popiah shop owner among winners of Intangible Cultural Heritage Award
The Straits Times, Singapore

A pioneer of Peranakan theatre and the owner of one of Singapore’s oldest popiah shops are among six winners of an inaugural award for promoting intangible forms of cultural heritage.

The winners were announced on Thursday. Each will receive $5,000 in cash and be eligible to apply for a project grant of up to $20,000 to further fund their work.

Launched by the National Heritage Board (NHB) last October, the Stewards of Singapore’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Award recognises individuals and groups that have made excellent contributions in preserving and transmitting cultural skills or knowledge in their respective fields.

These groups or persons must each have had at least 10 years of experience in their vocation and be well respected by their community.

[Read more…]


The Site That’s Still Publishing Myanmar’s Official Documents After More Than a Century
The Irrawaddy, Myanmar

The Government Press Building played an important part in the colonial administration of British Burma, printing census reports, gazetteers, notifications and official acts. Located at the corner of Theinbyu and Anawrahta roads, the building today serves as the office of the government-owned Printing and Publishing Enterprise and Central Press under the Ministry of Information.

The British, having completed their invasion of Myanmar in 1885, built an administrative mechanism designed to ensure long-term control of its new colony. After establishing their administrative seat, the Secretariat building, the colonial government built the press, which was complete with three elevators, horse stables and staff quarters, opposite the Secretariat in 1912.

The building was designed by a renowned Scottish architect of the time, John Begg, who also designed the Customs House on Strand Road and the Central Telegraph Office at the corner of Maha Bandula and Pansodan streets.

[Read more…]


The Indonesian National Orchestra (INO) (Franki Raden/-)
Lokaswara Online Festival celebrates Indonesia’s indigenous music
Jakarta Post, Indonesia 

The stage was filled with different traditional musical instruments from various parts of Indonesia, each of which had a different set of scales that produced sounds and a particular vibe unique to their origin.

It was once thought impossible for those contrasting tones to create harmony, but the Indonesian National Orchestra (INO) proved otherwise.

Prominent music composer and ethnomusicologist Franki Raden went against all odds in 2010 and formed the orchestra, which consisted of over 45 traditional music maestros from all over the country and choir members.

The one-of-a-kind orchestra made its memorable debut at the Tourism Ministry’s Balairung Sapta Pesona hall that year. Parts of the recorded performance premiered at the opening of the CAVENTER STAGE x Lokaswara Online Festival.

[Read more…]


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.

About the author(s)

Nabilah Said is an award-winning playwright, editor and cultural commentator. She is also an artist who works with text across various artforms and formats. Her plays have been staged in Singapore and London, including ANGKAT, which won Best Original Script at the 2020 Life Theatre Awards. Nabilah is the former editor of ArtsEquator.

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