Can the YCA Awards Keep Up with the Times?

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Shaq Koyok (b. 1985, Selangor) The Witnesses.

So, the next young superstar in the Malaysian art firmament has been named: Samsudin Wahab. And as the Bakat Muda Sezaman (Young Contemporary Artists, YCA) apparatus wraps up, the perennial poser remains: What now, BMS?

Not that much has changed in this 24th edition since its inception 45 years ago as a one-off invitational competition in 1974. Age limit: 30, 35; prize-money from RM2,000 to RM30,000 plus a trip; Minor Award winners extended to five with prize-money of RM7,000 each; theme or no theme… Really, hardly the recipe to prime-push young hearts and minds in the New Millennium (NM) ecosystem, with the perception of the Ubermensch, the World Wide Web, VR (Virtual Reality), AI (Artificial Intelligence), Bio-Teach, robotics and all the computerised gizmos and logarithms.


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