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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Art has always been a great way to connect people from different countries and cultures. In fact, American writer Madeleine L’Engle once called art an actual form of communication – It transcends borders, language, race, and cultures.
The past week was a testament to that as 13 Filipino artists visited Malaysia through ArtDialogo, an initiative that proves to be the beginning of yet another opportunity for cultural exchange in the Southeast Asian region.
Founded by artists Nemesio Miranda Jr and Karina Jardin, ArtDialogo helps artists from participating countries create new partnerships, promote culture, and even advance tourism.
Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J Eduardo Malaya, an avid supporter of the arts and the project itself, lauded the ArtDialogo, saying that this is the largest and most distinguished delegation of Filipino artists he has seen in Malaysia.
It is high time that more efforts in expanding cultural exchanges in the region are made, he said.
“I believe it is high time for Malaysians and Filipinos as well as Indonesians and Bruneians, for that matter, to rediscover and celebrate the many things we share in common,” Malaya said.
“All our 4 countries are partners in ASEAN and also building one socio-cultural community. In addition, all 4 belong to maritime Southeast Asia, and geography has bound our peoples since time immemorial, thus resulting in innumerable affinities in heritage, culture, and way of and outlooks in life,” he said.
Together with Malaysian artist Zaki Hadri of Malaysia’s Visual Art Association called Persatuan Seni Rupa Malaysia (PeRUPA), the Filipino artists participated in art exhibitions, community development activities (such as arts interaction with local schools in Malaysia), and the sharing of best practices through forums.
The artists engaged in a number of activities, including teaching students of elementary school SJKT Ladang Bukit Jalil how to sketch faces, live art and interaction painting in Kellie’s Castle, Perak, teaching students of SJKC Puay Chai the art of paper cutting, and more.
The participating artists from the Philippines were:
- Nemesio Miranda Jr
- Saudi Ahmad
- Anna Karina Jardin
- Glenn Blanco
- Rodolfo Alcantara
- Christina Manansala
- Mike Melchior
- Nimrod Marcelo
- Aaron Bautista
- Roy Espinosa
- Pancho Piano
- Albert Magsumbol
- Augusto Santiago Jr
The participating artists from Malaysia were:
- Abu Zaki Hardi
- Azman Nor
- Cheng Peng Sia
- Ngdawiah Ismail
- Syuq Tone
- Halim Abang Drashid
- Kay Loo
- Zarina Abdullah
- Rah Jabbar
- Khalid Othman
- Irwan Idris
- Ismail Allas
- Hisham Salmin
- Dato’ Lothfi Ibrahim
- Munif Muhammad Nor
- Aris Aziz
“ArtDialogo means cultural interchange, experiencing artists’ works. This is a learning experience and also a chance to see the beauty of each country,” said Miranda, who chairs the initiative.
The Malaysia leg of the event was concluded with an exhibit by Filipino and Malaysian participating artists at the Malaysian Tourist Information Centre (MaTiC) in KL City Centre. The event was graced by dignitaries and patrons of the arts in Malaysia.
The next leg of ArtDialogo will be in November this year. Malaysian artists will be visiting the Philippines for a series of forums and activities to enhance artistic cooperation. – Rappler.com