In Good Hands

January 25, 2013 | The Star | Angelin Yeoh |

Projek Rabak is an art collective founded by Jayzuan and a few other friends from lpoh who felt that the music and arts scene in their hometown did not have the platform it deserved.

Thanks to Projek Rabak, now it does. That empty space above the chicken rice shop is now known as The Happening, and the city's growing underground arts scene seems set to finally break out.

They started out with monthly film screenings, which they called "Wayang Rabak". They had to ask a friend to let them use his tuition centre as a venue. Since then, they've also organised forums, concerts as well as masterclasses with the likes of musician Loque (of Monoloque fame) and singer songwriter Wani Ardy.

Thanks to support of the Dana Belia 1Malaysia fund from Yayasan 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Projek Rabak has been able to spread its wings a little more.

They now have a series called "Sekolah Rabak", where aspiring artists, writers, musicians and performers can attend workshops and seminars from noted personalities in the creative industry.

There is also Rabak-Lit; an independent publishing house which aims to feature the creative works of lpoh's undiscovered young writers. So far, Rabak-Lit has published six novels and a magazine. Next month, Projek Rabak will have it's own dedicated art space called Khizanat.

"It's basically a social club for young people to come and nurture their interest in arts. There will be a gallery for them to showcase their talent and even a space for them to sell their products. On top of that, there will also be a library," said Jayzuan.

Sometimes, helping to improve the city you live in requires getting your hands dirty-and that's exactly what Mohd Fitri Mifdal, 15, did.

During the last December school holidays, Fitri led a group of four to 14 year old kids on a mural painting project in his hometown, Kampung Padang Jawa in Shah Alam.

"Normally during school holidays, I'd just be going around on a bicycle or surfing the Internet at home. So I was really excited to be able to do something different," said Fitri.

The group of was a part of a project facilitated by full-time artist Aishah Baharuddin, 32. Over 20 of the kampung's children got involved in the two-week project: working from 9am to 5pm. The project was fully funded by Aishah, who paid for all the materials and equipment

"The purpose of the project was to beautify the kampung with environmental messages," said Aishah.

"There is a huge flyover between the mosque and primary school here, and there was always crude graffiti and mindless advertisements all over the walls.

"Instead of exposing these young minds to all that, we decided to get them to paint over it with some meaningful art."

"We taught them the things we learned from university, some of the basic techniques in muralpainting. It's a project that required a great amount of preparation and I think the kids did really well at their first effort," said Farhana.

The finished mural was well-received by the community, and Aishah said the success of their first project has led to them make plans for a street art festival.

  • Excerpt reproduced with the permission of The Star, Malaysia