From graceful dance moves of Bharatnatyam to amazing Indian sculptures, the Indian culture is blessed with the beautiful diversity of art and culture.
However, in the blind race of modernization and social issues that might be stuck in the distant past, many Indian youths are seen as invisible in the art forum. Society should play important role in encouraging kids to participate in art programmes that help enhance their hidden talents. That brings us to the topic that many Indians are not aware of such programmes that can actually provide golden opportunities for their children.
A long-standing component of Usaha Tegas Group’s corporate social responsibility programmes, Usaha Tegas Heritage is held annually, invites Malaysian students from public and private institutes of higher learning to submit artworks across five categories, oil/acrylic painting, mixed media, printmaking, charcoal/pencil/ink drawing, and watercolor. All under a specified theme relating to cultural heritage.
This year, Usaha Tegas Heritage 2022 themed “Intangible Malaysian Cultural Heritage” succeeded in attracting 235 entries by students from over 30 institutions of higher learning across the country. Winners were announced at the Usaha Tegas Heritage Art Competition 2022 prize-giving ceremony held on 15 December at Element Kuala Lumpur hotel.
Director of UTSB Management Sdn Bhd, Shaharul Rezza Hassan said the competition has become a celebrated annual platform for encouraging, recognising, and promoting aspiring Malaysian young artists, but also acts to create an important repository of contemporary artworks reflective of Malaysia’s unique, rich and dynamic cultural heritage through their eyes.
“This year’s competition invited students to submit artworks under the more specific theme of ‘Intangible Malaysian Cultural Heritage’ and the winning works capture not only the easily visible and recognisable symbols of the rich cultural traditions that thrive across our country, but also the hard work, wisdom, and stories of our parents, grandparents, and ancestors, and what we share as our natural environmental heritage,” he added.
Usaha Tegas Heritage’s judging panel this year was led by master printmaker, artist Encik Juhari Said, Head of Fine Art at Malaysian Institute of Art, and multi-disciplinary artist, Ms. Bibi Chew, Penang-based heritage building conservationist, Ar. Parama Nathan and National Art Gallery senior curator, Encik Syahrul Niza.
Over RM80,000 was awarded to all 24 winners to encourage them further develop their skills and pursue their talents on the professional stage. The first prize from each category receives RM 8,000.00. The second, third, and consolation prize winners each received RM 3,000.00, RM 2,000.00, and RM 500.00, respectively.
Ar Parama Nathan is an architect by profession. He is a registered Professional Architect with Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM), with corporate status awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia (PAM). He is also a registered Professional Interior Designer with the Institute Perekabentuk Dalaman Malaysia-IPDM (Malaysian Institute of Interior Designers).
An elected Council Member of Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia, Parama sits as Chairman of PAM’s Northern Chapter and as Co-Chairman on PAM’s Government, Community & Industrial Liaison Committee, and serves on the Professional Practice Committee. He is also an accredited Green Building Index Facilitator.
During an interview with Varnam Malaysia Parama Nathan shared his concern about the lack of Indian community and students participating in such events.
“The obsession and social perception of many Indian communities that urge their children to focus on medicines and engineering should be kept aside for a moment. It’s time for them to understand that some kids prefer going for arts and sports because it’s simply how they express their creativity and emotional perceptions”, said Parama Nathan.
Youths on the other side should put aside the mentality of chasing money and set an ideology of money chasing you instead. This is possible if an individual is wholly passionate about the job they are doing.
Parama Nathan added that many from other communities are discovering their cultural treasures through art- name it from painting right up to music and sculptures, which is amazing. Indians are artistic people too and have an amazing legacy, let’s not lose it and reconnect to the current millennials. With platforms like Usaha Tegas Heritage, youths can unleash their artistry talents. Don’t look for shortcuts and put enough effort to get exactly what you want, concluded Parama Nathan.
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