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By Pung Sha-Lene
Titled “Buka Mulut”, the event was an initiative by Buka Kolektif and The Instant Café Theatre Company to introduce a new audience to the lesser-known art form.
It was held in Dave’s Pizza Pasta Vino and featured ten local artists.
Artist Rahmat Haron opened the show with his performance “Connections and Disconnections”, inviting the audience to tie his hair with cotton wool thread to anywhere they wanted.
Like most diners on Saturday, it was business student Jenny Kek’s first time watching performance art.
“I think the performances were pretty cool,” Kek, 21, said. “But I don’t think it’s something that everybody might enjoy, because it takes patience and you have to have interest in it.”
Part of Buka Kolektif’s mission is to cultivate such an interest.
“Performance art is not celebrated enough in Malaysia,” said Poodien, 31. “You’ve got art exhibitions, theatres and paintings, but not so much performance art.”
Another founder is 29-year-old Sharon Chin – artist, managing editor of Arteri Malaysia, and curator of the performance art event.
When asked why the event was called “Buka Mulut”, Chin explained that “it gives the connotation of opening your mouth is to eat, but also to speak out.”
“[Performance art] is very much about ideas and presenting ideas,” Chin said. “It doesn’t have to be in a gallery, it doesn’t have to be on a stage… it can be in a shopping mall restaurant… and the ideas can be interesting.”
Visual and performance artist Intan Rafiza Abu Bakar, 29, calls performance art “a response to things that are happening” and a “healthy way of expressing your emotion” .
In “Buka Mulut”, she used her art (“Guess How Much I Love You”) – a performance of a mother telling her child bedtime stories – to speak out against child abuse.
Other artists, too, expressed their ideas in a palette of ways.
Simon Soon examined the “Delectable Pastime of the Bourgeoisie” by playing Nintendo Wii’s Cooking Mama game with audience members.
Safriman and Ridfan’s “Lompat” invited the audience to scrawl words on the performer’s bare skin, while the latter blurted political statements at random.
Audience member Elaine Foster, 32, a spoken word performer and poet, has seen other performance art such as two people dancing in a sandbox in The Annexe, Central Market.
“There’s a fine line, I think, between theatre and performing art,” Foster said. “Yoko Ono was one of the first avant-garde performance artists, with performances like ‘Cut Piece’ and ‘The Wish Tree’.”
But while there are regulars in the local arts scene like Foster, Intan acknowledges that most Malaysians “lack a connection to performance art”.
She hopes “people will ask more questions” and learn more about the art.
Testing testing watch below:
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Oh my oh my why the girl so shy 😀
Yellow rubber ducklings and test blogs are a calling.