Women Artists Speak: Downtown KL As A Living Work Of Art

In another special episode of Hello Zafigo, we once again explore Downtown Kuala Lumpur, this time looking at the city through its art in a chat between host Marina Mahathir and artists Nawwar Shukriah Ali (Bono Stellar) and Suzy Sulaiman. (Images provided by artists)

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As art evolves beyond the traditional canvas and to new realms within the heart of Kuala Lumpur (KL), especially Downtown KL (DTKL), you’ll see it make its mark on the streets, festivals, and even retail points throughout the city. Ever changing and now ever present, our city’s inner areas have become modern day canvases for artists to create their masterpieces. Suffice to say, DTKL has transformed into a thriving hive for art — nothing like what it was just a decade ago.

But who is art in KL for?

In an honest and insightful session of Hello Zafigo, host Marina Mahathir chatted with artists Nawwar Shukriah Ali (Bono Stellar) and Suzy Sulaiman about the evolution of DTKL’s art scene.

Between technology gaining a foothold in how artists create and giving visibility to women artists, get ready for some real talk as these three women ask — and answer — the important questions. Are Malaysian women artists getting a fair shake? Are there more challenges that female artists face? Nawwar reckons that while this may be so, we can prove them wrong and she shares how.

“We have intentions, but when you put it out there, you never know who’s going to encounter your work,” Suzy adds. “As a designer myself, I don’t want the work to alienate people. It’s not a sacred, pristine object. My work is very temporal and transient.” In other words, people should have the freedom to experience art in the way that they want — and that’s the beauty of street art and the art installations that you’ll find these days in DTKL.

Enough from us, we don’t want to give it all away. Watch the full session between Marina, Nawwar, and Suzy below:

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Going by the nickname Kuzai, the Kelantan native has spent 15 years in the wonderful world of publishing, formerly managing the beauty sections of glossies including ELLE and Harper’s BAZAAR. Now, Kuzai is the Editor of Zafigo. The wannabe runner is also mom to a feisty toddler, suffers from constant wanderlust, and really just works to eat, travel, and shop.