Dikir Barat, Kuda Kepang, Tarian Kipas and Kolattam. These were the traditional Malaysian dances which received cheers and applause from an enthusiastic crowd on the first day of the annual Festival of the Arts organised by the Language, Communication and Culture Department. These traditional dances were enthusiastically and gracefully performed by students from the Schools of Pharmacy, Health Sciences and Medicine who were enrolled in the Matapelajaran Pengajian Umum (MPU) modules. Open to the public, the festival was held from 4 to 6 September 2018 at International Medical University (IMU), Bukit Jalil. With the theme Culture for Well-being, the event aimed to encourage staff and students to appreciate and understand the traditional cultures in Malaysia through various arts medium. This year, the festival was vibrant with colours and activities including live performances, exhibitions, pop-up booths and competitions. The traditional dances were followed by two live performances on the second day, which were the Futuristic Malaysian Fashion Show and the IMU Talent Show. Traditional Malaysian attires such as the baju kurung, cheogsam and saree, among others, were given a modern futuristic style using recycled materials. The winning piece, the Baju Un-kurung was designed to make the attire multi-functional. The performances continued with the IMU Talent Show in the evening. The show was an exciting event as IMU staff unleashed their talents by reciting poetry, showing their photography collection, playing musical instruments, sharing their henna art skills and others. Guest performers at the show were students from the International Medical College who presented two fusion dances. At the festival, the participants took a stroll down childhood memory lane at the traditional games section which provided an overview of the games and demonstrations. The section contained ten booths with traditional games such as congkak, kabadi and chinese yoyo, representing the multiple ethnic groups in Malaysia. Apart from trying the games for fun, the participants also competed for cash prizes. Another highlight of the festival was the pop-up art and craft booths. Some tried batik painting while others ordered key chains made from twisted wires as well as had their caricatures drawn. Throughout the three-day event, participants could also show their creativity by writing an inspiring message for the Creative Post Challenge, and take photographs at the Kampung House.
To appreciate and understand Malaysians from the indigenous people groups, students researched and recreated art pieces through drawing, calligraphy, moulding and collage skills, to reflect the lifestyle of these people, which were then displayed in an exhibition. Other projects presented by the students to create awareness and appreciation for Malaysian literature were exhibitions on Malaysian writers such as Tash Aw and Tan Twan Eng, creative comic books designed and inspired by famous Malaysian personalities such as Michelle Yeoh and Yuna, and fresh new tales on the Malaysian trickster, Sang Kancil, presented as big books. The highlight of the festival was the annual Art Competition exhibition which saw art pieces displayed by participants from secondary schools, colleges and universities. The grand prize winner of the competition who received a RM3,000 cash award was
View art pieces from previous Art Competitions at Inspire Art Gallery. The committee was pleased with the turnout of almost 500 participants to the event. Many responded that they had an exciting time at the festival and were more appreciative of the diverse forms of Malaysian arts and culture.