Sunday, July 17, 2016

Kuala Lumpur International Arts Festival - DiverseCity 2016

DiverseCity or the Kuala Lumpur International Arts Festival is an annual performing and visual arts festival, first held in September 2015. Held for 5 weeks every year across multiple venues in Kuala Lumpur and greater KL, the ambitious programme of performing and visual arts in each year of DiverseCity will showcase the complex, rich and nuanced diversity of Malaysia and explore our close ties and deep relationship with the ASEAN community.

DiverseCity or the Kuala Lumpur International Arts Festival is back with DiverseCity 2016, the second edition of the annual performing and visual arts festival first launched in 2015 – showcasing the rich and nuanced diversity of Malaysia and its close ties with the ASEAN community. This year, the festival is held over five weeks - from its official launch on 31 August 2016 until 2 October 2016.

It will be officially launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at Berjaya Times Square on National Day, with specially commissioned performances of street dancing, a mobile phone orchestra and syair (poetry) reading, amidst a photography exhibition featuring works by three

The lineup of performances, recitals, exhibitions and workshops will be held in multiple venues across Kuala Lumpur city and Greater KL, and covers the scope of the arts – from performing arts to visual arts to literary arts. Featuring acclaimed participants from across the globe, this year’s festival builds on the success of the inaugural event in 2015 – which involved 1,300 participants from 24 countries and attracted 60,000 visitors, almost a quarter of whom were from outside the country.

“Malaysia has a rich and diverse cultural and artistic heritage and the multi-cultural nature of our society offers a natural melting pot for artistic expression. As such, Malaysians are very open to experiencing the new things that the world of the arts can offer and we are pleased to be the conduit for expanding the horizons of Malaysian residents and visitors to Malaysia through the DiverseCity festival. For 2016, we have put together an acclaimed lineup of signature performances featuring celebrated international stars and prominent Malaysian talents that will not just enrich the arts scene in Malaysia but also enhance Malaysia’s reputation as an artistic hub,” said DiverseCity 2016 Festival Director Datin Sunita Rajakumar.

“We have a festival programme that offers something for just about any taste, showing Malaysians new things to develop their artistic experience, and is at the same time sufficiently unique to offer something fresh to even the most experienced connoisseur of the arts,” she added.

Signature performances at DiverseCity 2016, which feature international performers, include:

 The critically acclaimed King of Ghosts by British Indian composer and virtuoso player of the sarod Soumik Datta, brought to Kuala Lumpur for its Asian premiere, supported by the British Council and symphonic orchestral musicians from Malaysia.

 The specially commissioned Feet on Fire, a first-time collaboration between internationally renowned Flamenco maestro Antonio Vargas and leading Malaysian exponents of Indian Kathak dance and music.

 Nari: The Shankar Family Project by Gingger Shankar, a moving tribute to Lakshmi Shankar and her daughter Viji, who helped bring Indian music to the West in the 1970s through their close collaborations with Ravi Shankar and George Harrison.

 The award-winning and critically acclaimed La La Luna, a child-friendly mime performance by performer and playwright Wolfe Bowart, which will have you awed and amazed. The festival also features strong local contributions, including:

 The Kaleidoscope international Drumming Festival, an annual festival organised by Hands Percussion, a renowned Malaysian percussion ensemble. Groups in the powerful line-up for Kaleidoscope this year include Olivier Tarpaga & Dafra Drum from Burkina Faso, Gamelan Jinggong Navadaza from Indonesia and Malaysia’s Kamrul Hussin & Brothers.

 A landmark contribution from the ambitious 5-year project 2020 by Toccata Studio, a performing arts production collective dedicated to creating and producing quality contemporary art. The project is a multidisciplinary performance by artists Ng Chor Guan and Steve Goh that seeks to depict the national cultural psyche as we head towards developed nation status.

 Pensyair Alam Nusantara, the 2 nd year of the ASEAN Poets Forum and a day-long exploration of poetry and writings in the park.

 The first gathering of Syair Alam Melayu Nusantara - featuring poetry talents from Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and Thailand, is also happening this year.

 The National Arts, Culture and Heritage Academy (ASWARA)’s ever-popular Main Zapin, with representations from many of the states in Malaysia, including Zapin Putar Alam, Pekajang, Sebat, Terengganu, Salor and many more, danced by a cast of 12 highly trained and professional dancers.

 A traditional Bangsawan performance of Pelayaran Panglima Awang, about Malay warrior
Panglima Awang during the time of Portuguese explorer Captain Ferdinand Magellan. It is a joint production by the National Department of Culture and Arts (JKKN) and the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).

 Sarawakian music and dance performances, featuring culture from communities such as the Kenyah, Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu, Melanau and Sarawak Malays, as well as modern and world music played with traditional Sarawakian musical instruments.

This year, there is a strong offering of the visual arts:

 Visit the Enchanted Forest exhibition by Sandra Lee - a new commission. Visitors step into a huge colourful set illustrated by Lee, and enter a world of favourite fairy tales and nursery rhymes given an Asian twist – with Asian clothes, food and architecture.

 See Ami Jesal’s Meraki (Moghul Miniatures) - a unique collection of miniature paintings on paper and faux ivory exploring the themes of love. The miniature paintings try to capture the spirit of love, longing and yearning, bringing together humanity and divinity.

 Don’t miss the interactive Andy Warhol: Social Circus exhibition, curated by Ryan Su of the Ryan Foundation. The largest collection of Andy Warhol Polaroids to be shown in Malaysia and Asia to date, the rare collection shows the world’s biggest actors, artists and fashion designers from the 70s and 80s on display. The Polaroids not only demonstrate Warhol’s influence as an artist and society figure, but also inspire his large-scale portraits he is best known for.

 For the first time, the Shalini Ganendra Fine Arts Gallery will be a festival hub - featuring the works of mixed medium artist Zac Lee, sculptor Anniketyni Madian and the PavillionNOW 2016 - Shadow Garden installation by Ar. Eleena Jamil alongside workshops, a capella performances and talks. The PavilionNOW project celebrates local architecture and design talent, and challenges local talent to create beyond conventional definition and perspective, as well as provide a stage set for performances throughout DiverseCity 2016.

 Catch the Dirgahayu Proposal photography exhibition by prominent Malaysian photographers Rahman Roslan, Ahmad Yusni and Zulfadhli Zaki.

Entry to many of the performances and shows will be free.

Standard price tickets range from RM10 to RM200. From now until 15 August 2016, tickets with up to 33% discount per person are available for group purchases of at least four tickets for selected shows.

A limited number of deeply discounted tickets have been made available for certain performances for the following categories - on a first-come first-served basis: senior citizens, full-time students, refugee groups, special needs groups and registered charities. To see the full programme lineup and for more information, please visit 

Fact Sheet on DiverseCity 2016

How much are the tickets for DiverseCity 2016? Where can the tickets be purchased?
The following table shows ticket prices for key performances in the DiverseCity 2016 lineup.
Until 15 August 2016, group purchases of at least four tickets are eligible for the group
discounts as indicated in the table. Other performances are free of charge unless otherwise
indicated, while a fee may be charged for some workshops.

Tickets can be purchased online at the official DiverseCity 2016 website at . 

The full programme lineup and schedule and further details on the festival participants are also available on the site.

A limited number of deeply discounted tickets have been made available for certain
performances on a first-come first-served basis for special groups including senior citizens,
full-time students, refugee groups, special needs groups and registered charities. Members
of the public who wish to purchase the specially priced tickets are requested to email

The official launch will take place at 3.00pm on 31 August 2016 at the centre court of
Berjaya Times Square and will feature a mobile phone orchestra with Ng Chor Guan of
Toccata on the theremin, syair singing, high-energy exuberant street dancing by Alam-ak as
well as a photography exhibition by three talented Malaysian photographers: Rahman
Roslan, Ahmad Yusni and Zulfadhli Zaki.

The Signature Performances include:

Nari: The Shankar Family Project by Gingger Shankar

31 August and 1 September 2016, 8.30pm, Auditorium Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur
"The only woman in the world who has mastered the ten-string double violin." - Sound Box, India. Nari is the unsung story of the lives of Lakshmi Shankar and her daughter Viji, two extraordinary artists who helped bring Indian music to the West in the 1970s through their close collaborations with Ravi Shankar and George Harrison. Nari begins with a 10-minute short film live narrated by Gingger which takes the audience on an emotional journey through Viji and Lakshmi’s lives. Using never before seen archival footage, interviews and photographs from their tours and family footage, viewers get a rare and unique glimpse into this incredible family told through the women’s voices.

Feet on Fire by Antonio Vargas, Manjula Radha Krishnan, Nawaz Mirajkar and others

3 and 4 September 2016, 8.30pm, Auditorium Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur
In olden times, the ancient gypsy tribes from Rajasthan, India celebrated the art of sharing
tales through singing and dancing. These storytellers known as Kathakars travelled
throughout Asia into the Middle East - sharing their art across foreign lands - creating a new
amalgam that eventually became Flamenco. The passion of the flamenco dancer’s feet is
matched in the precision of the footwork and the hundred bells of a kathak dancer’s ankles.
Shivering and shaking with the response to the body on fire with the stories of love, the
dancers draw you into feeling that fire within.

Synthesis - A Repertoire of Resonance by Hands Percussion

5 September 2016, 8.30pm, Dewan Filharmonik Petronas Synthesis - A Repertoire of Resonance is a masterful collection showcasing brilliant musicality, merging cultures and innovation. Drawing on Malaysia’s rich fusion of music and culture, audiences will hear a synthesis of sounds and arrangements. Experience various interconnections of the Shigu, Bonang, Gongs, Kesi, Gendang, Cello, Flute and the Gamelan. The repertoire will include selected pieces from the ensemble’s many performances, including the award winning ‘Tchaikovsky on Gamelan’ and ‘The Next’.

Kaleidoscope IV “Drumming Nation” Hands International Drumming Festival by
Hands Percussion

10 September 2016, 3.00pm and 8:30pm, Plenary Hall, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
“Drumming Nation” is the 4th installation of Hands Percussion’s International Drumming
Festival, Kaleidoscope. They are proud to present internationally renowned groups such as
Dafra Drum (USA & Burkina Faso), Gamelan JingGong (Bali, Indonesia), Max Riefer
(Germany), as well as local luminaries such as Kamrul Hussin & Geng Wak Long (Malaysia), Temple of Fine Arts (Malaysia), Chia Cheng Kok (Malaysia) and Tan Su Yin (Malaysia), supported by two troupes from Hands Percussion itself.

La La Luna by Wolfe Bowart

10 and 11 September 2016, 11.00am and 3.00pm, Auditorium Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur “Luminously inventive and magically silly.” - The Age (Melbourne, Australia)
La La Luna is the newest solo theatrical production from one of today’s masters of physical
theatre, Wolfe Bowart. A surreal tale of the moon caretaker as he struggles to relight the
darkened moon, La La Luna is circus, theatre, film woven together with a poetic and comic
physical language all its own. Take a journey to the place where gravity isn’t always on its
best behaviour. Float in a comic and visually stunning dreamscape as the artistic director of
The Shneedles casts his whimsical eye on the moon in La La Luna.

Live in Kuala Lumpur by Dmitry Maloletov

19 and 20 September 2016, 8.30pm, Experimental Theatre, Aswara Dmitry Ivanovich Maloletov is a renowned Russian guitarist, composer, writer and producer. One of the few guitarists of Russia, he utilises the unusual guitar playing technique called
"independent two-handed tapping".

King of Ghosts by Soumik Datta

27 and 28 September 2016, 8.30pm, Auditorium Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur
"Britain's most exciting sarod player" – Time Out King of Ghosts is a brand new score inspired by the classic Indian film, a 1968 fantasy adventure comedy by Oscar-winning master Satyajit Ray. It weaves Indian folk rhythms and rich orchestral textures into a gorgeous, atmospheric experience, as live scenes from the film are projected above the musicians and the audience is transported into a fairy tale.

2020 by Toccata Studio

1 and 2 October 2016, 8.30pm, Auditorium Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur 2020 is a multidisciplinary performance that is speculative in nature. Utilising accessible science fiction concepts such as the relativity of time and the multi-verse theory, artists Ng Chor Guan and Steve Goh weave a compelling story of traveling within the currents of time. The work addresses, and perhaps dismantles, the common dualities of art versus science,
emotion versus logic, and the individual versus the collective. In collaboration, an artistic
twin-ness, if you will, they grapple with the rapids and currents in both their immediate worlds and those in which they are embedded.

The Visual Arts highlights include:

Enchanted Forest by Sandra Lee

31 August to 2 October 2016, 10.00am to 5.00pm, Ruang by ThinkCity, OCBC Building
“Visitors step into a huge colourful set illustrated by Lee, and enter a world of favourite fairy
tales and nursery rhymes given an Asian twist.” – Singapore Art Museum. Step into The Enchanted Garden City, a new commission by Sandra Lee. Look out for characters such as Little Red Riding Hood clad in a sarong kebaya (traditional dress worn in Singapore and Malaysia) with a basket of ang ku kueh (‘red tortoise cakes’, a local dessert), and Hansel and Gretel dressed in traditional Malay costumes. Lee also places the characters among attap houses, shophouses, public housing flats and other familiar sights as her tribute to these different architectural features found in Southeast Asia.

Dirgahayu - Photography exhibition of works by Rahman Roslan, Ahmad Yusni and
Zulfadhli Zaki curated by Rahman Roslan

31 August 2016, 10.00am to 10.00pm, Berjaya Times Square
1 September to 2 October 2016, 10.00am to 10.00pm, Avenue K

Meraki (“Moghul” Miniatures) by Ami

Meraki is a unique collection of painstakingly created miniature paintings on paper and faux
ivory exploring the themes of love. Indian Miniature Paintings present to us a layered world
of meaning. They can vary greatly in size—from being smaller than postcards or, in some
cases, not appreciably larger than outsized postage stamp to being close to a metre in
height! Ami’s Indian miniature paintings try and capture the spirit of bringing together
humanity and divinity.

Andy Warhol: Social Circus curated by Ryan Su of the Ryan Foundation

For the first time in Malaysia, a rare collection of Andy Warhol polaroids of the world’s
biggest actors, artists and fashion designers from the 70s and 80s, will be on display during
DiverseCity 2016. The brainchild of lawyer and art collector Ryan Su, 'Andy Warhol: Social Circus' is the largest collection of Andy Warhol polaroids to be shown in Malaysia and Asia. These polaroids not only demonstrate Warhol’s influence as an artist and society figure, but also inspire his large-scale portraits, which he is best known for. They form an integral part of Warhol’s artistic method and practice. These polaroids are the source material of the famous silkscreen portraits that are valued in the millions today. Visitors to 'Andy Warhol:

Social Circus' will be transported to Warhol’s studio The Silver Factory to truly experience a physical manifestation and contextualisation of Warhol’s polaroids. Perhaps visitors will see more of themselves by seeing how Warhol observed the world!

The following are activities at the Shalini Ganendra Fine Art Gallery Residence, which will be open from 11.00am to 7.00pm from Tuesday to Saturday, with free entrance.

PavilionNOW 2016 - Shadow Garden Installation by Ar. Eleena Jamil
1 to 30 September 2016

Zac Lee Review
1 to 30 September 2016

Anniketyni Madian Review
1 to 30 September 2016

Exhibition of Crafts
1 to 30 September 2016

Art Hug Programme - Design for Children (Part I & 2)
8 and 9 September 2016, 3.00pm

An Evening of Acapella by THE 4 OF US
14 and 15 September 2016, 7:30pm

The Literary Arts events include:

Malam Baca Puisi / Poetry Reading Soiree curated by Institut Terjemahan & Buku Malaysia (ITBM), Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka and PENA
2 September 2016, 8.30pm, Rumah PENA 

ASEAN Poets Forum curated by Institut Terjemahan & Buku Malaysia (ITBM)
3 September 2016, 8.00am to 5.30pm, Auditorium, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka

ASEAN Poetry Recital curated by Institut Terjemahan & Buku Malaysia (ITBM)
3 September 2016, 8.30pm, Auditorium Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka

Jelajah Monodrama “Jual Ubat: Dari Stesen ke Stesen” by Khalid Salleh, curated by
Institut Terjemahan & Buku Malaysia (ITBM) with the cooperation of Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) and Negri Samudra Theatre
4 September 2016, 8.30pm, Kuala Lumpur Train Station (Sentral)
“Jual Ubat” delivers multiple critiques from the viewpoint of an insignificant person – a street
medicine vendor, who is observant not only of the social issues, but also the political
deprivation, racial struggles, as well as the subsistence of Malay-Muslims.

Syair Alam Melayu Nusantara curated by Akademi Seni ND Lala and Institut

Terjemahan & Buku Malaysia (ITBM)
22 and 23 September 2016
Seminar: 8.00am – 1:15pm
Workshops: 2.00pm – 6:30pm
Performances: 8:30pm – 11.00pm
Auditorium Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka

KL.LePark curated by Institut Terjemahan & Buku Malaysia (ITBM)
24 September 2016, 9.00am to 7.00pm, Panggung Anniversary, Kuala Lumpur Botanical
Gardens KL.LePark gathers various art forms in one single event including the art of writing (books, magazines and book trucks), the art of music (alternative/indie swinging guitarist groups), the art of poetry (performances from the local and foreign poets), visual arts (painting exhibitions and caricatures) and the art of printing and designing.

The Heart and Soul of Malaysia highlights include:

Borneo Exotica curated by the National Department of Culture and Arts
2 to 4 September 2016, 2.30pm and 8.30pm, Dataran Merdeka

Bangsawan: Pelayaran Panglima Awang - A joint production of the National
Department of Culture and Arts and Kuala Lumpur City Hall
23 to 25 September 2016, 8.30pm, Auditorium Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur

Main Zapin by the National Arts, Culture and Heritage Academy
1 October 2016, 8.30pm, Panggung Anniversary, Kuala Lumpur Botanical Gardens


  1. what a great event now. boosting the tourism industry

    1. Yes, this can boost the tourism industry.

  2. I bet this is a spectacular event. Great promo for our tourism.

  3. it is a great activity that i shall plan with my family for upcoming holiday soon. great review. thumb up

    1. Some events are great for children.

  4. I really did not know of this place. I would love to go check it out.

  5. There are so many activities line up for this event. I will take note on that and will try to attend some.

  6. THese activities really look great... It is so diverse, and I am surely going to check them out

    1. Yes, do check them out. The prices are reasonable too.

  7. What a great activity~ Thanks for sharing this, I might check it out soon.

  8. Wow! Such a great artistic festival.. Would really like to attend some..

  9. Looking forward to DiverseCity 2016. Wanna watch all of the performances if can

  10. I would really like to attend any of the performances or generally enjoy the festival. Have not been able to do it these past years.

  11. Wow there are too many performances and show to choose to enjoy! Never been to join this international arts festival before, looks fun!

  12. seems like an interesting art festival! one of the reasons why i enjoy staying in KL - because of event like this!

  13. Indian Kathak dance and music look interesting. I love the dress.

  14. woah! such a fun event and i guess all of you had a great time there! so Artsy and fun!

  15. These kind of cultural fests are so necessary. They help in conserving different art forms.

  16. It is a nice event to boost the tourism and getting to know more about the place.

  17. Wow, I'm not an arts person, but glad to know Malaysia's rich cultural arts and heritage is wonderful.

  18. Great activity, wish to attend all the activities

  19. this is really interesting, so many types of shows going on throughout the fest

  20. Been to KL once only and I appreciate the place and its culture. This is a good event to promote Kuala Lumpur.

  21. This event is great to promote the different diversities of cultures we have in KL. Very cultural and mind opening