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Thu, 11/08/2012 - 09:39
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Royal Arts Gala, A New Cultural Honour For Artistes

By Sakini Mohd Said KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 (Bernama) -- The performing arts community was once labelled as among those with uncertain future, especially looking at minimal returns from the endeavours of concerned artists. Often, parents in Malaysia do not encourage their children to take up performing arts seriously due to the misplaced notion that this field is more for those who do not do well in their studies. However, that is no longer the case now. The performing arts have long been recognised as among the important revenue generators under the nation's creative industry segment. The rapid transformation across the music, theater, and musical theater scenes provided a new lease of life for art forms in Malaysia. However, the creative industry's potential is yet to be fully exploited though it is expected to contribute RM33 billion (US$10.78 billion) to the nation by 2020. Moreover, the industry has yet to see meaningful support from the private sector. Yet, the establishment of My Performing Arts Agency (MYPAA) and the introduction of the annual Royal Arts Gala promise a new beginning. TRI-PARTY COOPERATION Established early this year, MYPAA is a private agency representing performing arts with the aim of providing a helping hand for performing artistes through cooperation among all three parties. The establishment of the agency is timely because the support of the private sector is crucial in enhancing the nation's performing arts profile and moreover, solely depending on the government is not the right solution. The government's strong commitment in spurring and developing the creative industry can be seen through the implementation of the National Creative Industry Policy that allocated RM10 million (US$3.27 million) for the performing arts for the period of 2012-2013. "The main problem for the performing arts is financial constraints while staging shows. The private sector can help boost the nation's performing arts by investing in the sector. This can be achieved through regular dialogues," said MYPAA's director, Izan Satrina Mohd Sallehuddin to Bernama. DIALOGUE BRINGS GREATER APPRECIATION Regular dialogues among the three parties should not be limited to investment only, in fact they should be utilised as conduits to inculcate greater appreciation for the performing arts, which will in turn open up greater opportunities for performing artistes. The MYPAA founder noted that the performing art activities at present were restricted to Istana Budaya (Cultural Palace/Theatre), Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac), Panggung Bandaraya (City Hall Stage) and several other places. In fact, the performing arts can be held in more places if the private sector allocates space for them on their premises and utilises the performing arts medium in launching its products or services. This also helps the society in further appreciation of the performing arts and in the bigger picture, the nation's cultural arts legacy. "When they get a feel of the performing arts, they will have greater appreciation for them. They will enjoy the numerous performing arts and this will help enhance the artistes’ earnings," he said. ROYAL GALA FOR PERFORMING ARTS Therefore, the Royal Arts Gala organised by MYPAA and the National Culture and Arts Department is an effort in the right direction. The inaugural gala with the theme 'Journey through the Arts- Energise to Future', slated for Nov 12 at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton also received the blessings of the Information Communication and Culture Ministry and the Performance Management Delivery Unit (Pemandu). The prestigious event will be graced by the Malaysian King Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and his consort Tuanku Hajah Haminah. "We have seen The Malaysia International Gourmet Festival and FI Gala Dinner. Thus, it is only appropriate for us to have an iconic event to promote performing arts - The Royal Arts Gala. This is an exclusive annual gala to highlight performing arts and rope in the private sector for lending a helping hand for Malaysia's artistic and cultural development," he said. LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD In line with the goal to give recognition to performing arts in the country, a Lifetime Achievement Award for Arts has been introduced and will be presented during the gala. It will be awarded to an individual in the creative industry in recognition of their achievements in the world of creative arts and towards inspiring the society. The prestigious event has also lined up a 45-minute show directed by renowned Malaysian artiste, Pat Ibrahim. As for the show, Ibrahim, known for his musicals such as 'Puteri Gunung Ledang' (Princess of Ledang Mountain), 'P.Ramlee' (renowned actor-cum-singer-producer) and 'Terima Kasih Cinta' (Thank You Love), has enlisted well-known names in performing arts such as Harith Iskandar, M. Nasir, Musly Ramlee, Stephanie Van Driesen and David Shannon. The show reflects the journey of the nation's performing arts. SILENT AUCTION Each table for the arts gala is priced at RM20,000 (US$6,532). The funds collected are not only from the sale of the tables but also through a 'silent auction' conducted online from Oct 17 to Nov 10. The auction offers the Transformation Blues talk delivered by the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Idris Jala, for the organisation that succeeds in the bid. Apart from that, a LEICA X2 camera, an exclusive gown by Innai Red and a unique art piece created by Kuala Lumpur Hilton's artist, Infantino Fernandes will be auctioned off as well. "The funds collected will go to the Cultural Trust Fund. It will be used to promote the existing performing arts talents, and encourage and stimulate the performing arts sector," he said. -- BERNAMA