Monday, August 10

What About Kuching back to celebrate arts, lifestyle


Abdul Karim (front row, fifth right) and wife Datin Zuraini Abdul Jabbar (front row, sixth right) in a group photo with Snowdan (front row, fourth right), Hii (front row, fifth left), Tan (second row, fourth right), Sharzede (front row, third left) and other guests at the WAK 2019 Action Call Sundowner Party. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: What About Kuching (WAK), the festival that celebrates arts, culture and lifestyle, is back for its third edition this year, running from Sept 28 to Oct 27.

The annual festival, which aims to support tourism, culture, heritage and the arts in a bold and innovative way, will gather talented communities from Sarawak and showcase their best efforts in the many genres of arts, culture and lifestyle.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah says with WAK having received great response since its inception in 2017, the festival has the potential to become an international event where talents from other countries can also come here to showcase their creative talents.

“From what I can see, the organisers of WAK want the festival to be much like the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, where it is not just a festival of arts confined to Scotland, as it has become well-known throughout the world.

“We can see that WAK seems to be picking up and I believe if we could continue to sustain it, this festival could become the pride of Sarawak, Malaysia or even Southeast Asia in the next several years,” he said at the WAK 2019 Action Call Sundowner Party held at the Rooftop Lounge of Waterfront Hotel here on Monday.

Also present were Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan, Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee, and Sarawak Tourism Board chief executive officer Sharzede Salleh Askor.

The month-long WAK would provide the opportunity and platform for the various creative communities to connect with the public, and also for the public to appreciate the outstanding level of creativity in Kuching.

“Today’s (Monday) event is a ‘Call to Action’ for all those who are involved in the arts, culture and lifestyle genres to submit their proposals to stage their exciting events that may be featured at WAK 2019 in October,” said Abdul Karim, adding that the proposals could come from everywhere in Sarawak and collaboration could also be made between Sarawak’s creative communities with their counterparts from around the world.

“This is an interesting proposition for all of us because through WAK’s initiatives, those who have the fiery passion to showcase their creative works to a larger audience can submit their proposals and the WAK team will make every effort to make their participation a reality.”

Meanwhile, WAK festival director Donald Tan said he would be looking forward to receiving more proposals for this year’s event.

“Those interested to participate in WAK have two months from now, until June 14, to submit their proposals because we want to get the WAK calendar (of events) ready on our website by late July, so that we can start driving people to our festival in October,” he said.

As an open access platform, WAK would accept all proposals, and the organisers would do its utmost best to work with the submitting communities to make their event a reality.

Current confirmed events to be staged at WAK 2019 include the Sixth Borneo International Beads Conference 2019, WAK Music Portal 2019, Sarawak Adventure Challenge, AfroLatin Dance Fiesta, Sarawakiana Carnival, Stars Aligned Theatre, and Two Much Drama Theatre.

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