Malaysia creates its 1st virtual arts festival
Gerak Angin

Gerak Angin is expected to include 205 individuals from all across the country, including artists, cameramen, lightning crew and more

by AZALEA AZUAR / pic credit: gerakangin.com

THE physical world is “shrinking”, and everything that used to take up huge spaces and big stages can now be appreciated on the small screen of a smartphone.

The Covid-19 pandemic has really pushed many in the creative to stay active and relevant, while embracing the new normal.

The excitement of going to the theatres and performing arts venue now has to be contained at home.

One great example is “Gerak Angin”, Malaysia’s first virtual arts festival which is also supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac). It will be held daily from Sept 16 to Oct 2.

“There has never been an arts event or festival of this scale and form in Malaysia and we are proud to be bringing you Malaysia’s first virtual arts festivals in all its glory.

“Gerak Angin truly embodies the national artistic and cultural spirit through the companies involved and the performances that will be on show,” Motac Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said at the launch of the programme in Kuala Lumpur (KL) recently that was also attended by the festival’s movers Masakini Theatre artistic director Puan Sri Sabera Shaik and Sutra Foundation chairman Datuk Ramli Ibrahim.

Gerak Angin is expected to include 205 individuals from all across the country, including artists, cameramen, lightning crew, equipment contractors and more.

“Malaysia has one of the most vibrant performance arts cultures, shaped by decades of growth from a kaleidoscopic background of people and places.

“Gerak Angin is a celebration of that immense heritage. It captures the essence of being Malaysian, and reawakens and uplifts spirits, something we all need this time,” Nancy said.

Gerak Angin performances will be held via their YouTube channel, Facebook page and website at https://gerakangin.com/wp/.

The channel will be the venue for one-minute performances and stagings that are between 10 and 15 minutes by certain participating production companies.

Among the participants are Sutra Foundation, Dua Space Dance Theatre and Cempaka Performing Arts Co, while the musical performances are Geng Wak Long, KL Jazz & Arts Centre and Pusat Budaya Pusaka.

The theatre companies involved are Persatuan Seniman Teater dan Teknikal Pentas Perak (STEPS), ACX Productions and Theatrethreeesixty.

Nancy said the government would also continue its support in revitalising the arts and culture sector, which has been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

To date, Motac has approved the disbursement of RM668,000 to assist 243 non-profit organisations (NGOs) that have been affected by the pandemic.

Nancy said Motac also approved almost RM1 million in supporting NGOs to kick-start arts and culture programmes after the Recovery Movement Control Order.

She added that the government would continue its support, particularly to companies that are in line with the noble cause.

Nancy said practitioners in the sector should also have the right thinking and work with the government on projects that could benefit the people.

“Let’s sit down together, and from there, we can try to brainstorm on how we can help each other,” said Nancy.

She also urged the private sector to become investors and donors to the arts and culture industry.

She said the contributions and sponsorships for the industry could also be beneficial to the private sector as participating companies could enjoy various tax breaks and incentives.

“Motac also urges the private sector to join us in ensuring that welfare assistance is also provided to arts in cultures activities through the Artists, Culture and Welfare Fund,” Nancy said.

Apart from the collaborations and joint efforts with private practitioners, Motac has also initiated a few live events which also incorporate the new normal’s standard operating procedures.

One such example was the two-day “Konsert New Normal” which was held at the Istana Budaya recently.