KL’s maiden Biennale to boost tourism

The event is to attract art enthusiasts globally where they can enjoy contemporary works of art that inspires


Malaysia’s very own Biennale — an art event that takes place every two years — was launched in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, as part of a global movement that moves the focus of art from the major art centres to other venues around the world.

Named “KL Biennale 2017”, the mega art exhibition will be held for the next five months and is expected to attract at least 250,000 visitors.

National Art Gallery DG Datuk Dr Mohamed Najib Ahmad Dawa said the event is projected to attract art enthusiasts from around the globe to a single hub where they can enjoy contemporary works of art that inspires.

“The significance and relevance of the KL Biennale is that it brings together artists and art enthusiasts from all over the world to an event designed just for this purpose,” he said at his opening speech at the launch.

He added that the exhibition is a great achievement for the government.

“It is an achievement and an honour for the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the government through its agency, the National Art Gallery, to hold such a prestigious event like this very first KL Biennale,” he said.

KL Biennale chairman Johan Ishak said the large-scale art event features pieces that are related to the theme, “BeLoved”.

The pieces are mainly designed by 103 local artists, as well as 11 international artists in the form of canvas paintings and installations that depict love of nature, animal, humanity, heritage and spirituality.

Mohamed Najib said the art pieces are aimed at invoking self-reflection among guests.

“This art form is a logical choice for us: It is the Art of Today. Contemporary artists’ work in a globally influenced, culturally diverse and technologically advanced world. They see everything and therefore they see the world differently,” he said.

It is hoped that the audience will have an open mind and just embrace the experience, the creativity and the personality conveyed by each of the pieces.

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, who was also at the launch, said the national creative arts industry play a significant role in moulding a nation towards innovation.

“The Arts can inspire a country to be more innovative. This exhibition is in line with the development towards Transformasi Nasional 2050 which was introduced by the government.

“I hope that with steadfast support, we will catalyse the local arts’ scene and thus strengthen our location as the hub for tourism,” he said.

Among the local artists featured are Awang Damit Ahmad, Sharmiza Abu Hassan, Bibi Chew Chon Bee, Ahmad Zakii Anwar, Jeganathan Ramachandran, Hayati Mukhtar, Bayu Utomo Radjikin, Jalaini Abu Hassan and many more.

Malaysia’s very first Biennale which opened on Nov 1, will run to March 31 next year.

The art pieces were carefully selected by KL Biennale’s chairman Johan, head curator Professor Zulkifli Yusoff together with curators Amerudin Ahmad, Majidi Amer, Bakhtiar Naim Jaafar, Tan Hui Koon and also Faizal Sidik.

The National Art Gallery is also exploring other avenues dedicated to art connoisseurs.

Among them are the 14th Oita Asian Sculpture Exhibition, “Art Talk”, Kebun Seni, along with a book launch titled “Art in Context”.

The word “biennale”, Italian for “biennial” or “every other year” is commonly used within the art world to describe large-scale international contemporary art exhibitions since it was introduced in 1895 in the town of Venice.


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