Need to ensure Malaysia does not suffer loss of national treasures: Fahmi

AUDREY VIJAINDREN

KUALA LUMPUR: There is an urgent need to control the sale of local artwork abroad so that Malaysia does not suffer loss of national treasures.

Lembah Pantai member of Parliament, Fahmi Fadzil, said although there was nothing wrong in selling artwork abroad, there had to be a balance so that the future generation gets to enjoy Malaysia’s heritage and does not suffer artistic brain drain.

“Art reflects a society and its culture. We can’t afford to lose out on the acquisition of these priceless treasures of the country. We need a meeting point between the need to sell art to foreign collectors and the need to preserve our culture.”

Fahmi said artwork from painters such as Latiff Mohidin, Ibrahim Hussein, Mohamed Hoessein Enas, the late Syed Ahmad Jamal and many others, were national treasures and should be displayed at the National Art Gallery.

“Therefore, I will raise this issue in Parliament so that we can highlight the importance of local artwork,” he told reporters after launching “Liku-Liku“- a vibrant exhibition of city colours - at the Creative Space, National Art Gallery here today.

Also present was deputy director-general of the National Art Gallery Ameruddin Ahmad.

Fahmi also suggested that the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture lend their support through the hotel industry by creating a “stage” to showcase local artwork.

“This initiative should be based on a ‘win-win’ situation to ensure that not just the hospitality and tourism industries receive the benefits of local artwork, but local artists can sell their works at reasonable prices.”

The exhibition featuring local painters Hafiz Azizi and Nicholas Chong is open for public viewing until Sept 23.

Doors open from 10am to 6pm, where the free entry exhibition will be followed by sale of 35 pieces of oil and acrylic painting, ranging from RM450 to RM17,000.

The National Art Gallery also celebrated its 60th anniversary earlier this month, with ongoing exhibitions which include “Minta Perhatian“, “Tekad 6 Dekad” and “Place Called Home.” © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd