13  November 2015
Launch of KataKatha, Southeast Asian Conversations on Culture and the Arts

13 November 2015, Kuala Lumpur– Maybank Kim Eng, the investment banking arm of Maybank, launchedits newly conceived and formative regional arts and culture initiative, KataKatha - Southeast Asian Conversations on Culture and the Artslast night. The initiative is supported by Maybank Foundation and is conceptualised and curated in collaboration with cultural organisation PUSAKA.

KataKatha aspires to enhance an appreciation of Southeast Asia’s commonalities through culture and the arts. It will be a platform of exploration for Southeast Asian arts, rooted in the perspective of a shared regional history, to serve as a catalyst for a sustained deliberation of ideas and collaboration among its finest proponents. KataKatha also aims to be a regional arts institution, creating an archive of creative work as a means of consolidating and preserving ASEAN’s cultural identity.

Speaking at the press conference at the Grand Hyatt Hotel Kuala Lumpur last night, John Chong, Chief Executive Officer of Maybank Kim Eng Group said, “Maybank Kim Eng is proud to be investing in the advancement of the region’s arts and culture as we truly believe in the ASEAN story. To fully unleash ASEAN’s potential, there must be greater integration among its people. We believe that the key to bringing us together is to enhance our understanding of our shared history and heritage, which is why KataKatha was created. Art allows for creative expression, and encourages diversity in thinking, which is critical in the sustainability of ASEAN’s growth as a single economic bloc. Culture is humanising and has the ability to bring communities together. KataKatha will be the platform to cultivate a greater appreciation of Southeast Asia’s commonalities, promote its vibrant arts and culture, showcase our rich heritage and the region’s talents.”

For its commencement this year, KataKatha will bring together 10 principal Southeast Asian cultural figures from Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia to participate in a series of conversations around the theme of ‘Shared History, Shared Culture, Shared Traditions’.

These are distinguished names from various fields of the arts: Goenawan Mohamad (ID), Farish A. Noor (MY), Agnes Arellano (PH), Anocha Suwichakornpong (TH), Geraldine Kang (SG), Nadiah Bamadhaj (MY), Avianti Armand (ID), Kanakan Balintagos (PH), Pichet Klunchun (TH), and Lai Chee Kien (SG). There will also be a special appearance by eminent poet and painter, Latiff Mohidin.

Eddin Khoo, Founder-Director of Pusaka commented, “KataKatha is a truly formative gathering and novel in its approach to an exploration of creative life in Southeast Asia.”

The inaugural KataKatha will take place in Kuala Lumpur from 12-15 November 2015. The 4-day conversation will be interspersed with public reading, movie screenings, and a public forum. The initiative will culminate in an exhibition, three months after the conversations in Kuala Lumpur. This exhibition will feature an integrated body of work inspired by the conversations, curated by Eddin Khoo, as well as an accompanying publication and film documentary about the conversations and artistic process.

Students from 5 universities in the region – University of Malaya, University of Chulalongkorn, University of Gadjah Mada, University of Philippines, and National University of Singapore – have also been invited to participate in the initiative. This is part of KataKatha’s efforts to nurture the pipeline of arts and culture talents in Southeast Asia by allowing them to interact with and learn from some of the best artists in the region.

To follow these conversations on social media, please follow our pages at:
Facebook        :        KataKatha
Twitter       :                 @katakathaASEAN
Instagram        :        KataKatha

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