Weekend for the arts: Tinariwen brings desert heat to PJ, Melaka’s ancient ceramics

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Venue: JioSpace, Jalan 19/1, Petaling Jaya,

Date: Dec 15, 7.30pm

It’s not often that a Malaysian live event organiser can lay claim to bringing it one of the big highlights from the celebrated Glastonbury Festival in Britain. Cultural arts outfit Pusaka has gone and done just that by getting Tinariwen, hailing from northern Mali, for a headlining concert in Petaling Jaya this Friday (Dec 15).

With glowing reviews from this year’s Glastonbury Festival and other European summer festivals (Roskilde Festival in Denmark, among them), Tinariwen arrives in Malaysia in formidable form and ready to unleash its signature snaking guitar lines and hypnotic, haunting rhythms.

Those who caught the group – led by Ibrahim Ag Alhabib – when it played in Kuala Lumpur in 2017 can vouch for a magical Saharan blues night on the cards. Newcomers to the group will have plenty to discover and enjoy with Tinariwen also returning to these shores with one of its most accomplished and acclaimed albums to date.

Amatssou, the ninth album by the Tuareg band, released this year, was produced by the legendary Daniel Lanois. In the two decades since Tinariwen emerged from its base in the African desert to tour the globe, it has also gone from strength to strength with each new album cementing its position as a pioneering influence on the desert blues genre.

The group’s world music classic album Amassakoul (2004) laid the foundation and there has been no looking back.

If anything, this Petaling Jaya show offers music fans a chance to catch these unique bunch of rebel musicians together on the road. When they are not touring, they go back to their nomadic lifestyle. Some of them are in Tessalit, Kidal in northern Mali, others live close to the Algerian border.

Tinariwen’s concert in Malaysia is organised by Pusaka in collaboration with the Embassy of France to Malaysia. The show’s support acts include the drummers of Chinna Rasa Urumee Melum Masana Kali and ethnic Borneo band Nading Rhapsody.

More info here.

A general view of the ‘Port And Pottery’ exhibition at Museum of Asian Art at Universiti Malaya in KL. Photo: The Star/Azman Ghani


Venue: Museum of Asian Art, Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur

Date: ends Jan 31, 2024

The Port And Pottery exhibition, now showing at the Museum Of Asian Art (Muzium Seni Asia) at Universiti Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, explores a trail of ceramic shards, earthenware and broken pots, which were salvaged from two sites along Melaka’s coastline.

A total of 120 artefacts, selected from nearly 910 recovered pieces, await visitors as they stroll through this small gallery, which is loaded with info on old world Melaka through this exhibition.

Among the highlights behind the glass in this exhibition are regionally produced earthenware cooking pots, glazed stoneware bowls produced during the Yuan (1271-1368 CE) to Ming (1368-1644 CE) dynasties, Ming Dynasty blue and white porcelain plates, Chinese and South-East Asian stoneware storage jars and bottles, Burmese (Myanmar) Martaban stoneware jars and celadon plates from China, Thailand and Myanmar.

Qing Dynasty (1644-1912 CE) porcelain used by the common people of the time, which are mainly provincial blue and white Chinese dishes and bowls with simplified decoration, were the most recovered artefacts.

Beyond the ceramics rescued from the Melaka coast, on display is a small exhibit of ceramics used or kept in Melaka’s Baba Nyonya, Portuguese (Kristang) and Chetti households. A selection of ceramics excavated from six shipwrecks in the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea are also part of the exhibition.

Port And Pottery exhibition’s run has been extended until Jan 31. Open: Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. Saturday, 9am-4pm. Closed during lunch hour.

More info here.

The exhibitions, ‘A Journey Through Islamic Art’ and ‘Alif Lam Ra: Contemporary Muslim Calligraphy’, taking place at IAMM, showcase a diverse array of historical artefacts and Islamic art. Photo: Bernama


Venue: Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, KL

Date: June 30, 2024

The masses can delve into Islamic art and culture, encompassing a historical and cultural journey of over 1,000 years from East Asia to West Africa, through two exhibitions held in conjunction with the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (IAMM) silver anniversary celebration.

The exhibitions, A Journey Through Islamic Art and Alif Lam Ra: Contemporary Muslim Calligraphy, taking place at IAMM until June next year, showcase a diverse array of historical artefacts and Islamic art.

Four royal swords from the Mughal Empire in India, dating from the 15th to the early 18th century, belonging respectively to Emperor Akbar, who reigned from 1556 to 1605, Emperor Jahangir (1605-1627), Emperor Shah Jahan (1628-1666), and Emperor Aurangzeb (1658-1707), are among the exhibition highlights.

Also on display is the golden finial that once adorned the throne of Tipu Sultan, famously known as the Tiger of Mysore, from the Mysore Sultanate in Seringapatam, south India, during the 18th century. It is believed to have been seized by the British forces after Tipu Sultan’s defeat to the East India Company in the Anglo-Mysore War.

A set of 30 volumes of the Hui Quran from the Qing Dynasty in the 17th century is also one of IAMM’s early collections. They are adorned with Chinese motifs such as cloud patterns or peony flower buds and are written with only three to five lines on each page for each juz (part).

Elsewhere, the Alif Lam Ra: Contemporary Muslim Calligraphy exhibition features the works of 42 contemporary Islamic calligraphers from various countries, including notable calligraphers such as Fuad Kouichi Honda from Japan, Azra Aghighi (Iran), Charles Hossein Zenderoudi (Iran), Ahmad Moustafa (Mesir), Nasser Al-Aswadi (Yaman), Nja Mahdoui (Tunisia) dan Khaled Al Saai (Syria).


More info here.

Hoo Fan Chon’s ‘The Impossible Hand Gesture Series – High Five’ (acrylic on canvas, 2023). Photo: The Back Room


Venue: The Back Room, Kuala Lumpur

Date: ends Dec 23

The Back Room is winding down the year with this irreverently titled exhibition, the gallery’s last show before a short break. Titled Favouritism Is My Favourite -Ism, this group show is produced by the artist chi too and features 11 artists at varying stages of their careers.

As the title may suggest, the exhibition compiles 11 of his favourite artists, namely: Binti, CC Kua, Dipali Gupta, Foo May Lyn, Hoo Fan Chon, Jerome Kugan, Jun Kit, Liew Kwai Fei, Siti Gunong, Syahnan Anuar, and Wong Hoy Cheong.

The inception of the show’s premise is drawn from chi too’s own observations and experiences as an art worker in the Malaysian art scene. It marks the first time that chi too has produced an exhibition that is not his own. Chi too, who works as a project manager for a private art museum and has been active as an artist in Kuala Lumpur for more than 20 years has always had a healthy scepticism towards the prestige and power that curators wield in the art world, observing that most shows that feature a curator byline are merely roll calls of the curator’s (or gallery’s) favourite artists.

In alignment with the aims of chi too’s own art practice, the present show’s title and its premise poke fun at the conceits, assumptions, and everyday delusions of grandeur with which people flatter themselves. It pokes holes through the language that people use to ascribe importance to their work.

More info here.


Venue: G13 Gallery, Petaling Jaya

Date: ends Dec 23

It’s a busy season at G13 Gallery, which is showcasing its book and exhibition project. The Artist’s Studio: Exploring The Workspace Of 17 Malaysian Artists is a group exhibition by 17 Malaysian artists, including Anisa Abdullah, Chang Fee Ming, Chong Siew Ying, Datuk Sharifah Fatimah, Fadilah Karim, Hisyamuddin Abdullah, James Seet, Juhari Said, Khairudin Zainudin, Kow Leong Kiang, Najib Bamadhaj, Nik M Shazmie, Raduan Man, Rafiee Ghani, Shafiq Nordin, Suzlee Ibrahim, and Wong Ming Hao.

This exhibition coincides with the launch of the same titled book. This 300-page publication, an initiative by G13, takes an in-depth look into the workspaces of these artists, providing an intimate exploration of their creative processes.

At the gallery, this group exhibition brings to life the works of these artists whose studios are unveiled within the pages of the book. Fuad Arif is the book’s writer and Din Diran is the photographer.

The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, 11am to 5pm. Closed on Sundays, Mondays and public holidays.

More info here.

Written by renowned marine mammal scientist and conservationist Dr Louisa S. Ponnampalam (pic) and illustrated by visual artist Celine Tay Chuan Mei, ‘Mummy, Where’s My Dorsal Fin?’ aims to inspire young minds and foster their passion for marine conservation. Photo: Handout


Venue: Sunda Shelves, Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya

Date: Dec 16

Make a date with Dr Louisa Ponnampalam, a real-life Malaysian marine biologist at Sunda Shelves this Saturday at 4pm.

She will be reading a story from her new book called Mummy, Where’s My Dorsal Fin?

The book is about a young Indo-Pacific finless porpoise named Aluna, who explores her home in the beautiful emerald waters of the Langkawi Archipelago, while making new friends and learning about the people who try to keep her marine home clean and safe.

This storytelling session is for children (accompanied by parents/guardians) … but adults can join too!

Earlier this year, the book was launched by MareCet Research Organisation (MareCet) to promote the natural wonders and beauty of Langkawi.

Although fictional, Mummy, Where’s My Dorsal Fin? is based on scientific facts and MareCet’s research across the archipelago.

Register here for this Saturday’s session at Sunda Shelves.

More info here.

− TheStar

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