The 5th Melaka Art & Performance Festival (MAPFest), the largest and only site specific art and performance festival on a UNESCO World Heritage Site, run from 22-24 November 2013, with art installations and performances by more than 50 renowned local and international artists from 10 countries.
Artists from Australia, France, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Poland, South Korea and Thailand will be performing on the streets of Melaka. The historic city will become their canvas, and come alive with magnificent images and performances.
MAPFest is an innovative contemporary festival featuring dance, performance art, visual art, film and music. The festival promotes Melaka to the world as a creative hub for innovative arts, where the arts is integrated with heritage.
For the first time since its inception in 2009, MAPFest will be kicking off a new sister festival in Australia: Mapping Melbourne – Asian Contemporary Arts Festival (Australia) on 5 December 2013. It is produced by Multicultural Arts Victoria, a partner of MAPFest for the last four years.
Through the years, MAPFest has not only gained a high national profile but also increased its international status, being recognised for its programme of exciting independent artists, collaborations and its use of alternative sites for performance. The festival throws the spotlight on Melaka's famous heritage sites, and its collective ancestral heritage, to create a space for contemporary culture and artistic practice.
Andrew Ching, founder and producer of MAPFest said, “Over the years, the festival has managed to attract more and more international as well as local tourists. In fact, it has become a yearly excursion for many, including those from abroad who travel halfway around the world just to attend. The festival is widely accepted internationally and I expect it to only grow bigger.”
“It is important that the festival remain free and accessible so that the wealth of art can be experienced by all, irrespective of socio-economic considerations. The festival is designed to be inclusive; the performances in public spaces will give the ordinary men and women on the street an insight into the performing arts,” he added.
Conceived and directed by Cheryl Stock, “Naik Naik” is the opening performance and also one of the events to look out for at MAPFest 2013. Holding to the same MAPFest spirit, “Naik Naik” explores the notion of “ascent” that lingers on the traces of history, interwoven with personal and cultural stories related to the sites, in a celebration of the present.
Known for its originality, the festival keeps it new with specialty components such as the “Cerita Pendek” (Short Stories), visual arts and discussions, as well as workshops. “Cerita Pendek” brings dance, music and performance works from all participating festival artists in a unique programme of short works over two nights at the historical and iconic St Paul's Hill.
The “Cerita Pendek” segment features cross-cultural performance theatre whereby each performer has ten minutes on stage. One of the many inspiring pieces is “Ikoto – Place To Be”, a mix of traditional Japanese dance, hip hop dance, contemporary dance and theatre that will feature Tho Anothai, a French/Laotian hip hop artist and Ikko Suzuki, a contemporary Japanese dancer, who met during an improvised duet performance at MAPFest 2010.
On Sunday night, all the artists will perform in a large scale performance called “Eulogy for The Living”, which is a spectacular and soulful finale to the festival directed by Tony Yap, Founder and Creative Director of the festival. This year’s performance will be a tribute to the memory of the late I Nyoman Sura, a talented Indonesian choreographer and fine dancer who had performed in previous editions of MAPFest.
“Artistically, many artists have found a very distinct element that keeps them returning. This is MAPFest’s x-factor. Over the years, the festival has found an evolved model where the very original nature of arts and expressions can find a platform in a historical city,” said Tony.
Tony Yap was one of the principle performers with IRAA Theatre (1989-1996) and has worked extensively in Australia and overseas including the Agamemnon Festival Colline Torinese, Italy, and The Trojan Woman, Vienna International Art Festival. As the founding Artistic Director of Mixed Company (now Tony Yap Company) in 1993, he has made a commitment to the exploration and creation of an individual dance theatre language that is informed by psycho-physical research, Asian shamanistic trance dance, butoh, voice and visual design.
“Old ruins and heritage sites of Melaka are a part of our own lived history. They give us a sense of continuity with the old ways while pausing to reflect on modern times. Through our performances, artists respond to the focus on “Traces of Transformation”, which is the main focus of the broad theme this year,” he added.
Art takes many forms, and the visual arts segment is a curated programme of exciting and contemporary works by Malaysian and International artists including installations, video art, photography and painting coupled with a film fest featuring short films.
Movie buffs can enjoy a line-up of feature-length films from Australian filmmakers such as Genevieve Bailey’s I am Eleven, that documents the lives and thoughts of eleven-year-olds from 15 different countries; and Rohan Spong’s The Songs They Sang, an untold true story of the amazing musical and artistic performances that took place at the Vilna Ghetto, Lithuania, during World War II.
On the last day of the festival, Cheryl Stock, Director of Postgraduate Studies at the Creative Industries Faculty of the Queensland University of Technology, will facilitate an artist forum that explores the multi-facetted notion of “ascent”.Music lovers can head over to the workshop conducted by performance deviser, composer, instrumentalist and vocalist WeiZen Ho, who explores voices in diverse ways of departure into the world of vocal expressions.
MAPFest 2013 is produced by Arts & Performance Festival Melaka Sdn Bhd together with the efforts of E-Plus Entertainment, the Australian Government, High Commission of Australia, Australia Malaysia Institute, Multicultural Arts Victoria, Tony Yap Company, Mercatus+ Malaysia, Asialink, the Embassies of France, Thailand and Indonesia, the High Commission of Ireland and the Malaysian National Department for Culture and Arts (JKKN).
MAPFest 2013 is free and open to public. Festival goers can find more information atwww.melakafestival.com