Landing…the priority was to find the most accessible art gallery in KL. Walking…I grabbed a copy of the KL map, some directories, and where to find promo materials at the airport. Asking…I had to inquire at the airport taxi station on how to get to Kuala Lumpur (roughly translated as the Muddy River) and counting… the lady said – 70 ringgit.
Thinking…I, initially, thought that it was okay until someone suggested that it would be better and cheaper for me to take the airport bus. I asked the lady who told me how much? She said to me smiling that the bus ticket would only cost me as much as 10 ringgit. To my surprise the bus would save me a lot, if I took the cab, and that’s 60 ringgit.
So, I took the bus and now I am going to KL. Then, I met a Malaysian couple at the bus who would tell me the where’s and what’s of Kuala Lumpur. Since I do not have enough time to travel around KL I had to ask for the nearest art gallery that I could visit before I leave for Penang (Pearl of the Orient) in the afternoon.
I learned that the Art House Gallery and the Annexe Gallery at the Central Market Annexe was the most accessible.
After an hour of travelling in a dazed condition, I arrived at KL at about 12:30PM. I went directly to the Central Market to grab some lunch and strolled around to check the place. I was fortunate to find the Art House Gallery – Museum of Ethnic Arts and the Annexe Gallery. It wasn’t that far as I expected.
The Art House Gallery – Museum of Ethnic Arts
The Art House Gallery – Museum of Ethnic Arts stores a dozen of ethnic art works ranging from paintings, sculptures, and other heritage objects. The perspectives, content, colors, shapes, and inclinations of Malaysian ethnicity and arts are somewhat similar to the Indigenous heritage, arts and culture of my country (the Philippines, other would prefer calling it Maharlika, the MAWF group in the Philippines believes that it is the ancient name of the country).
The gallery displayed many of Malaysia’s ethnic traditional arts. Carving, silversmeathing and weaving techniques and styles date back to the Malay Sultanates. Indian, Arabic, Chinese, Islamic, Buddhist, etc. influences are also evident in Malay arts, tools and musical instruments.The artworks imply that Malaysia is some sort of a a mini-Asia, rich in diversity.
Annexe Gallery: The Art and Soul of Kuala Lumpur
The next gig for me was a visit to the Annexe Gallery. The Annexe Gallery was launched in 2007 as a centre for contemporary arts in Kuala Lumpur. With its eclectic program of events, the gallery have attracted youths and adults seeking for delight, inspiration and insight.
That day, the Amnesty International Malaysia and Annexe Gallery just launched its a special event for human rights advocacy dubbed as “Art for Grabs plus Letter Writing Marathon” to celebrate the HR Day in Malaysia. Pang Khee Teik, The Arts Programme Director, was kind enough to tour me around the gallery and introduced me to a number of up and coming artists in KL.
A variety of contemporary, urban, experimmental, pop, creative, surreal, alternative, post-modern, transmodern, cultural, cartoon, virtual, visual, audio, books, novels, philosophies, etc. art works and books were displayed. The event was able to showcase different ways of knowing and perspectives on human rights through visual and digital arts.
Pang thinks that art is one trans-formative if not the most provocative way of advancing human rights in Malaysia and the world.Pang invited me to stay for the launching of a documentary video on human rights but unfortunately I wasn’t able to commit as I was scheduled to travel to Penang in an hour.
The experience at the Art for Grab Malaysia was exquisite. Malaysian artists are trulyblessed for being one of the best artists in the world. They are so deep and willing to explore new ways of imagining and creating.
The gallery tour was memorable but more important was the energy and inspiration that I had. Congratulations to the organizers, Pang and all Malaysian artists who in the midst of abnormality, create new stories and inspirations. Kudos to all! See you soon!