“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls”

Pablo Picasso

Offering a three dimensional matrix of skill, craft, history and heritage, the Kuala Lumpur International Arts Festival 2018 (KLIAF) is back from 1-30 September. The festival is expected to take KLites through a month-long journey of talent, emotion, and human understanding.

In its fourth year now, the 2018 edition features an amazingly diverse range of performances that celebrate Malaysia’s unique cultural diversity and stimulate exciting conversations. With over 200 performers and a line-up of 15 shows, the festival will bring to forefront activities from across various genres including theatre, digital art, literature, music and fine arts. Along with internationally acclaimed performers such as Wolfe Bowart, KLIAF this year will also create space for local talent and craft. Get transported to the mythical forests of Borneo with the rhythm of the sape or get acquainted with inspiring stories of everyday Malaysians at the first ever Humans of Kuala Lumpur photostory exhibition.

If you are an arts and culture buff (like yours truly) here are seven shows at KLIAF 2018 you absolutely cannot miss.

Akram Khan’s ‘Giselle’ – The Movie

Where: MBO, Starling

Admission fees: RM17 onwards

Telling the tale of migrant workers cast out of their jobs in a condemned garment factory, Akram Khan’s Giselle comes to cinemas for the first time in 2018 through the Kuala Lumpur International Arts Festival. An original production from the English National Ballet, Giselle has been hailed as a masterpiece of 21st century dance and has received numerous awards for it’s glorious ballet performances. Filled to the very last minute with ballet moves and musical notes that will make your heart skip a beat, Giselle’s movie adaptation presents a perfect opportunity for ballet fans to catch this lyrical act in high definition.

Spectrum by DPAC

Where: DPAC

Admission fees: RM 55 onwards

After their applauding performance last year, Damansara Performing Arts Centre’s Spectrum will make a return, gathering together renowned local musicians for yet another musical fiesta spread out across four evenings. Featured this year as a part of Spectrum is saxophonist Julian Chan and his community jazz orchestra, Leow Yunn’s layang-layang that will bring the crisp sound of gamelan with the new tunes of the piano and cello in one music composition, Sara Heng and her abilities with the Guzheng, a traditional Chinese string instrument and Mohar Mohram’s brilliantly composed Getaran Alam with contemporary musical instruments.

Kenyalang Alive: Sape Musica Expression

Where: Dewan TAR, MaTiC

Admission Fees: RM20 onwards

Originally played for ritual ceremonies in longhouses, the sape is a lute instrument with traditions deeply rooted in the Kayan and Kenyah communities of Borneo. With its resemblance to the modern day guitar and versatility to adapt to several genres of music, the sape is slowly inching its way to the world music stage. Kenyalang Alive, performed by the KL Sape Collective, is based on the theme of  “Evolution of Sape Music” and is divided into three segments–authentic, new compositions and world music. With guest appearances by Matthew Ngau Jau and Alena Murang, this one and half hour performance is sure to bring the myths and sounds of Borneo to the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s concrete jungle.

Cloud Soup by Wolfe Bowart

Where: Menara Ken, TTDI

Admission fees: RM30 onwards

A new production from renowned physical theatre performer Wolfe Bowart, Cloud Soup tells the story of a tailor who discovers that the adventure he longs for lies at his feet – in his pile of laundry. The tailor’s humble shop becomes an undiscovered world as fabrics magically morph, found objects transform into curious beings and puffs of steam remind us of a time when we saw faces in the clouds.Wear mismatched socks, put your shoes on the wrong feet, turn your shirt inside out and you’ll be perfectly dressed for Cloud Soup.

“I am Ravana”

Where: Shantanand Theatre

Admission fees: RM50 onwards

Based upon the timeless Indian epic The Ramayana, ‘I am Ravana’ is a visual feast of Indian classical dance, music and drama. Choreographed by Australia’s premier organisation for the Indian Arts, Saraswati Mahavidhyalaya (SMV), this saga of love, lust, desire, honour and death will be performed in collaboration with The Temple of Fine Arts (TFA) Inner Space Dance. Get swept up in a tale 2000 years old, as ‘I am Ravana’ explores the shades of grey in Ravana’s motivation and brings to stage the inner turmoil present in everyone’s hearts and minds.

Humans of Kuala Lumpur – Photostory Exhibition

Where: Carcosa Seri Negara

Admission fees: Free of cost

Humans of Kuala Lumpur (HOKL) photographs the people of KL, documenting the transformation, changes and diversity of people with portraits that present a personal glimpse of the humans living in KL photo by photo. At the the first ever HOKL exhibition, photostories that resonate most with everyday Malaysians will be put up for display creating a visual novel with a strong narrative rooted in social advocacy and the power to initiate strong conversations. The display will run for a month with ‘meet and greet’ sessions held every weekends where you can meet the people from your favourite stories along with storytelling workshops, photo-hunts and a story party where you can share your own unique story.

Makyong: Anak Raja Tangkai Hati

Where: Dewan TAR, MaTiC

Admission fees: RM20 onwards

Recognised by UNESCO as ‘Intangible Heritage’ in 2005, Makyong is an ancient theatrical form hailing from villages in Kelantan performed mainly during healing rituals.  A typical Makyong performance opens with an offering followed by dances, acting and music as well as improvised monologues and dialogues and requires years of rigorous training to master. At KLIAF 2018, the Makyong act will narrate the tale of Anak Raja Tangkai Hati and Puteri Bota, an ogre princess.Filled with bright costumes, comical notes, lively music and folk dances, this is one chronicle that will leave you with room for more.

For more information on performances and shows visit https://www.diversecity.my/.

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