Wednesday, July 25, 2012

George Town Festival 2012

George Town, Penang is where i born. A city that builds my memories all the time from past till now. Whenever i want to go around Penang island, this city is where i been for almost everyday in my life. This city was so ordinary to me but yet it still gives me more surprises than i thought. No matter how long i live on this city, i always get to see so many awesomeness things happen around this city every time i'm here. After George Town, Penang get listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name flow around the world, more and more people around the world know about this city. Nowadays, you can see lots of tourists around the city. No only that, more and more motel or hotel building up, old building being restored, people start to pay attention to this city and taking care of the true value of this city. George Town, Penang has its locational advantage and port facilities, grew as a major trading, commercial and entrepot centre for the region. With this advantage, the city get listed by UNESCO for its unique multicultural trading town, forged from the mercantile exchanges of Malay, Chinese, Indian & European cultures.

Such a wonderful gift to George Town, Penang. We should celebrate it. This is why George Town Festival held since 2009 which had transformed the city into an exciting and unique platform for the arts, heritage and culture. A month-long celebration of art, music, theatre, dance opera and film to commemorate George Town's inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage listing. The unique appeal of the festival lies in its well-balanced blend of local cultural performance and events with cutting edge international performances. For centuries, the city was renowned as an international commercial gateway. The festival was created to put George Town, Penang back on the world stage as an international boutique destination for art and culture. This year, the festival begins with our most famous local performance, our heritage to the world - Silat. The majestic martial art of Silat was practiced by Malay warriors from the dawn of Malay civilization some 2000 years ago. Now, the power and grace of this martial art will be showcased in a spectacular performance commissioned especially for the gala opening of the festival. Helmed by award-winning producer/director Saw Teong Hin, of Puteri Gunung Ledang fame, production designer Liew Kung-Yu, lighting designer Dorothy P’ng and choreographer Aida Redza the production is a hybrid of theatrics infused with traditional music and contemporary visuals.

Another highlighted performance that i went was The Manganiyar Seduction. The inventive Indian director Roysten Abel, introduces us to the world famous The Manganiyar Seduction, a unique confluence of traditional Rajasthani music and striking contemporary theatre. The formerly nomadic Manganiyar minstrels once performed for Rajasthani kings and worshipped Muslim saints as well as Hindu goddesses. Imagine a dark stage coming slowly to life as the conductor gestures and one by one the curtain-lined stacked boxes on stage light up to reveal white-robed musicians. The musical refrain slowly builds as more boxes and more musicians (42 altogether) begin singing, playing lutes, percussion and reed instruments in an increasingly frenzied symphony. It was such an incredible & awesome experience that night watching their performance, from just one music to the whole music with all instruments and songs at the end. EPIC!

Beside performances, there also have Handmade Market. You can found lots of different handmade things such as bag, toy and many many more selling here. Sometimes you will realise, actually handmade things are more beautiful than others as it was made by hand with full love and time on it. If you miss out this handmade market, next time when you have the chance you should buy yourself one too!

This year's festival also a hot topic around the public especially when you talk about the street art on the Armenian Street, a painting on wall about two little brother and sister cycling on the street. The artist, Ernest Zacharevic become so well-known today for his street arts that you can found around street in George Town, Penang such as Chew Jetty, Love Lane, Lebuh Acheh & Penang Road.

This year's festival, i got the chance to be the one of the volunteer for the festival. Helping one of the month-long exhibition held in Town Hall, Mapping An Identity. This is also my first time in my lifetime to involve myself as a volunteer in art world, helping the artist to set up the exhibition. Before the exhibition, i start to feel so nervous, keep thinking that artists should be a person that very hard to communicate with. They should have their own "unique" life different with "normal" people. Hahaha~ Just kidding, David! The artist, David Cheah is very nice, friendly and kind person. Able to help him throughout his exhibition was my honour. I learnt lots of things from him during the exhibition.

From the beginning of setting up this exhibition till the end of the exhibition, I'm learning day to day. Not matter how easy to show you the exhibition, at the back of scene will always have lots of thing going on. Different situations will appear that you unexpected Such as for the second day before the exhibition open to public, another helper from George Town Festival met an accident (Luckily he had recover from injury), leave two of us working like crazy man for the whole day to set up the exhibition but still we did it all done before the day. Beside that, when it comes to normal day with heavy rain, but for two of us we start to be so nervous. This is because the Town Hall will leaking during rain, and we have to rearrange the whole things to make sure those fabric won't get wet.

Mapping An Indentity was a exhibition insipired by geographical maps of Penang and expressed in a traditional way through textiles like 'Batik'. A way the textiles can be viewed as an alternative form of 'mapping' through which we can and have expressed our identities. From the exhibition, you able to know how the Batik making process and types of Batik. At the end of this exhibition, you will insipired by David's desgin and motif.

A month-long festival coming to the end with the last show, Tropfest. Originated in Sydney, Australia in 1993 and has grown into the world’s largest short film festival. Its presence at this year's festival puts George Town squarely on the map with other prestigious TROPFEST screenings in New York, Las Vegas, Abu Dhabi and other world cities. The city will still growing day by day even the festival have ended, lets us together looking forwards and giving support for George Town Festival 2013! Hand cross~