Whatever the reason, the showcasing of Malaysian art on the world stage has suffered a downturn that will be hard to reverse. For one thing, competitors have surged ahead.
On the global stage, Malaysian artists have, in comparison to neighbouring countries, become shrinking violets.
There was a time when Malaysian art went to London (SOAS Centre, London University), Mane (Czechoslovakia), New Delhi (India), Malmo (Sweden), Madrid (Spain), Buenos Aires (Argentina). All these were under Wairah Marzuki who helmed the National Art Gallery (dubbed the Balai) then despite constraints of a skeletal staff and shallow coffers.
Sadly, things changed after she left, with four directors in succession seeming to opt for a hermetic policy. This December 4-17, however, the Balai plans an exhibition in Miami, Florida, during Art Basel Miami week (December 5-8).
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