Connecting the dots

The Borak Arts Series brings together practitioners and supporters to talk about funding and mobility, writes Aref Omar


THE question of funding is never far from any arts practitioner’s mind — after all, you need money to produce any type of artistic work.


Art companies and artistes aspire to transcend their work across borders or enjoy the liberty of challenging their creative realm without the inhibition of funding-related woes.


It was for this reason that the recent Borak Arts Series 2014 featured building knowledge in funding and mobility as its theme this year.


The event highlighted how there are means provided by the public and private sectors, both locally and internationally that may assist in bridging these gaps in funding and mobility.


The series, which was held at MapKL, Publika, is the country’s primary regional networking platform for creative practitioners and business leaders from around the world.


The second installation of the event, organised by My Performing Arts Agency (MyPAA) in collaboration with the National Department for Culture and Arts (JKKN) and Sime Darby Foundation, built on last year’s series which looked at building sustainability in the arts.


The conference brought together artistes, presenters, producers, intermediaries, funders for two days of keynote addresses, panel discussions, round robin sessions, networking platforms and performances.


Delegates were made up of industry players from Malaysia, Japan, New Zealand, Belgium, France, Singapore and Korea.




In her welcome address, MyPAA founder and director Izan Satrina Mohd Sallehuddin said that the series has become the starting point for many conversations with partners outside Malaysia, initiated either by the organisation or by artistes and producers themselves actively investing in their international relationships.


“The programme targets partners with influence and the potential to create momentum for Malaysian performing artistes.


Through advocacy, networking and open dissemination of information, Malaysian artistes and works will now have the opportunity to possibly travel beyond our borders and raise the profile of our country’s arts,” said Izan Satrina.


She also announced the documentation of Borak Arts Series 2013, which will be available online from this month onwards, and that MyPAA has entered a partnership with the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur for the annual Malaysia Arts and Culture Funders Roundtable Artiste Programme and Rehearsal Space for Underprivileged Children.


She also spoke about the Royal Arts Gala Fund and invited applicants to start sending in their online submissions from this month onwards.


The fund supports the promotion of Malaysian artistes and works overseas, the facilitation of international co-productions and collaborations involving Malaysian and overseas talent, the development of technical and managerial skills among Malaysian performing arts managers and administrators and research and documentation projects in the performing arts.




Datuk Norliza Rofli, JKKN director general, who gave the opening remarks, said the Borak Arts Series is a significant event under the inaugural Malaysia International Performing Arts Village as it is a congregation of influential players from the public and private sector as well as the local and international performing arts community.


“I’m glad to see that the second installation of the event is better received, having a bigger contingent of foreign delegates this time is a positive sign that our performing arts industry is growing and gaining traction internationally,” she said, adding that JKKN was eager to continue supporting the growth of the industry, and complementing Malaysian artistes and producers to continue creating and mastering their craft.


Norliza Kamaruddin, Petronas Group Strategic Communications Division senior general manager, delivered the keynote address titled Our Journey in Growing Malaysia’s Arts and Culture.


Other speakers from the first day included Datin Marion D’Cruz, of Five Arts Centre (Malaysia), Hamdan Abdul Majeed, Think City executive director (Malaysia), Taneo Kato, Association for Corporate Support of the Arts KMK executive director (Japan), Yohann Floch, of Fresh Arts Coalition Europe (Belgium), Jean- Yves Coffre, of Res Artis (France), Monica Turner, of the Asia New Zealand Foundation (New Zealand), arts consultant-organiser Pang Khee Teik (Malaysia).


The second and final day of the conference saw talks given by Hiromi Maruoka, president of the Japan Center and director of the Tokyo Performing Arts Meeting (Japan), Claire Mooryang Sung, programme director of Daejeon Arts Center (Korea), Samuel Seow, managing director of Samuel Seow Law Corporation (Singapore) and Nori Abdullah, chairman of Budi Penyayang Foundation (Malaysia).


Some of the topics discussed were Arts and Cultural Support for a Creative and Vibrant Society, Investing Time in Networks, and Cultural Entrepreneurship and Innovation.


Datuk Adeline Leong, governing council member of Sime Darby Foundation, which is a co-presenter of Borak Arts Series 2014 said in her speech, “The foundation hopes that our contribution of RM95,000 towards the organisation of the Borak Arts Series will help achieve our goal JKKN director general Datuk Norliza Rofli.


MyPAA founder and director Izan Satrina.


A dance performance by the National Cultural Troupe.


of empowering the arts industry, specifically for arts administration and management skills.


“We hope that all the participants have taken the opportunity to network and gain new knowledge on how to continuously produce good, creative content while beingable to sustain their initiatives through the various opportunities (be it monetary or upgrading their skills), which are available locally and internationally.


“We look forward to more initiatives such as this to be organised here for the sustainability and development of the arts industry,” she said.


The opening performance under the Korea Malaysia Connection Programme was a dance featuring Steve Goh, Youth Studio of Dance and JS Dance Theatre founder, Farah Shikeen Roslam, JKKN cultural artiste, and Lee Dong Won, dancer and choreographer from Korea’s Arzid Modern Dance Company and One Dance Project.


Delegates also had the pleasure of witnessing performances by Odissi dancer January Low, professional sitarist Kumar Karthigesu, a dance recital by the cultural troupe from JKKN and a monologue entitled Adult Child/Dead Child by Theatre three sixty directed by Christopher Ling.


“We are truly grateful to be able to work together with JKKN and Sime Darby Foundation, and garner the support from the Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur, Korea Arts Management Services, Asia Center, French Embassy in Malaysia, Asef Culture360, New Straits Times Publishing Group, MapKL Publika and Boh Plantations,” said Izan Satrina.


Details at


The roundtable Networking Sessions in full swing.

Aref Omar
New Straits Times
Publish date: 
Monday, December 8, 2014