Forget the Deepavali bazaars, there is an art exhibition in conjunction with the festival of lights this year! Banana Leaf: A Celebration of Malaysian Indian Arts & Culture will be held from the 4th to the 20th of October at GMBB Kuala Lumpur.

This one of a kind project is the brainchild of internationally acclaimed Malaysian artist, Ruby Subramaniam. “Banana Leaf seeks to champion the arts for Malaysians of Indian origin. It is a project consisting of a visual arts exhibition by more than 20 artists and writers, as well as the children from Sivananda Ashram,” Ruby tells us.

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Some of the artwork that will be on display during Banana Leaf: A Celebration of Malaysian Indian Arts & Culture

Ruby, along with Goodkids Malaysia, have taught the children of Sivananda Ashram art for the past year and a half. According to Ruby, the children are being guided to discover their own art styles, while narrating their personal stories.

Banana Leaf is not merely an art exhibition, it is a movement of social change, and a coming together of artists and creative leaders who drive important issues of our time – to create deeper engagement around our social, cultural, and humanitarian causes in Malaysia.

Ruby assures us that the selection of visual images displayed will be vibrant and empowering. “The artists are briefed to take inspiration from ancient practices such as “kolam”, discuss the significance of its cultural process, and apply it to concerns of today’s world,” The richness of Indian culture will be demonstrated through the medium of art through Banana Leaf.

Some of the artwork that will be on display during Banana Leaf: A Celebration of Malaysian Indian Arts & Culture

Banana Leaf will also feature 3 documentaries by Freedom Film Festival, along with other videos reflecting on the theme, with 5 photography series on display. It will be accompanied by literary and research works in Malay.

Among the highlighted artists are Blank Malaysia, a fine-art artist exhibiting internationally as well as Rames Harikrishnasamy, Abode’s Creative Ambassador who thrills us with his digital art of Hindu deities. They will be joined by multidisciplinary artist Veshalini Naidu, doing what she does best – merging poetry, visual arts and theatre.

Malaysian documentary photographer Mogan Selvakannu will be exhibiting at Banana Leaf. He will presenting his project, Skeletons of Empire, a look into decolonisation of photography in the post-colonial era. Mogan has been featured on BBC Creative’s Photography exhibition this year.

Pic: Mogan Selvakannu

The other creative minds who will be a part of Banana Leaf are Adeline Shatsala, Akasha Visuals, Belveen Singh, Catherhea, Chunky Munky, Daniel Adams, Devendiran Param, Dhinesha Karthigesu, Ivan Gabriel, Kumar Nagalingam, Lingeswary Kailappan, Malah, Melizarani T.Selva, Mona KV, Mogan Selvakannu, Olafool Art, Sayla, Shanjey Kumar Perumal, Thevasree Krisnan, Thinakkaran Thamilchelvam, Thineswari Govindasamy, Uthaya Sankar SB and Vincent Paul.

Banana Leaf: A Celebration of Malaysian Indian Arts & Culture is the brainchild of Malaysian artist Ruby Subramaniam. Image: Thevasree Krisnan

Ruby is no stranger to the international art scene. She has been acknowledged by World Humanities Conference in 2017, as one of the 50 global movement of artists reflecting on their impact in societies and the importance of local implementation. Her art project, ThisBodyIsMine has gone viral, garnering more than 2 million views online. Her next piece of work, Antidote: Uncovering Skin & Soul won the Krishen Jit Astro Fund
and INXO Art Fund in 2018. Ruby is also the founder of Art Battle Malaysia, a live art show hosted in over 50 cities worldwide.

Varnam.my is the official media partner for Banana Leaf: A Celebration of Malaysian Indian Arts & Culture. Stay tuned for detailed updates on the art exhibition, or click here for more information on the event. 

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