Published on 16 April 2020

A joint recovery programme introduced to support Malaysian artists, collectives and arts organisations

The Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM) has always been constantly reviewing the implementation of government policies and programmes to help the creative industries sector grow and develop even in facing the current crisis of COVID-19. This is to ensure more job opportunities and creative content could be generated through the various agencies under KKMM such as MyCreative Ventures Sdn Bhd, the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) and the Malaysian Digital Economic Corporation (MDEC).

“COVID-19 has had a significant impact on everyone, including those in the arts and culture sector. All public gatherings, performances and exhibitions have been cancelled or postponed in the interests of Malaysia’s collective wellbeing. As a result of this, MyCreative Ventures and its subsidiaries, my team and I have been in regular contact with the local arts and culture communities to understand their needs during this pandemic. I am glad to share that via the Government’s PRIHATIN package and the rollout of the various funding programmes and other efforts under MyCreative Ventures, CENDANA and RIUH, we hope to afford artists, collectives and arts organisations time to stabilise, to reflect and adapt accordingly for post MCO,” says Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah, Minister of Communications and Multimedia.

Part of this unified effort includes the initiatives under CENDANA, a unit under MyCreative Ventures Sdn Bhd, that develops and promotes Malaysia’s cultural economy with an initial focus in performing arts, visual arts and independent music. CENDANA has worked with the respective sectors in gathering brief baseline data to illustrate the impact of COVID-19 to the arts and culture practitioners. This information will be made available to the public, funders and policymakers to use as a tool to reflect, discuss, design solutions and find new possibilities on how to face the host of new challenges that comes with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Based on the data gathered and the various conversations we have had with the arts and culture practitioners, our colleagues at the Ministries and arts institutions, we have decided to review our existing programmes and roll out new programmes amidst COVID-19, to support continued artistic practice and operations of Malaysian artists, collectives and arts organisations,” says Izan Satrina Mohd Sallehuddin, Founding CEO CENDANA.

A new programme, called Create Now Funding Programme hopes to cultivate and support artistic development and presentation of ideas in imaginative ways despite physical limitation on resources via immediate response grants of up to RM 1,500 per individual artist/cultural worker and, RM 3,500 per collective/arts organisation. It provides an opportunity to adapt arts practice, explore new ways of working and experiment with new forms/ ideas.

In addition to that, CENDANA will be introducing new grant programmes namely the Visual Arts INSPIRE, which encourages creative exploration process and research excursion to assist in their artistic process; Visual Arts SHOWCASE, which encourages and supports the contemporary expression of visual art through independent, alternative and experimental art venues, artist-run spaces and underserved neighbourhood culture activators; Independent Music Funding Programme, which supports development and creation of new original or adapted works, live showcases and creation of digital content. These programmes will be rolled out on April 14 onwards on top of the existing programmes; Capacity Building and Mobility Funding Programme Cycle 2 that will prioritise local tours and activations.

CENDANA will remain steadfast with its marketing and promotional campaigns in addition to training programmes that will also see an arts writing mentorship programme being introduced this year with opportunities for artists and writers to write on the arts and culture scene for CENDANA. These commitments will be followed through as a continued effort for CENDANA to contribute to the sustainability of the sectors.

“Through this period of uncertainty, it is by escaping to the arts that we may find joy, whether it is dancing to a familiar tune, painting with our loved ones on what moves us or to rediscover talent with our favourite music instrument. So we do invite corporations, foundations and individual donors to step forward in supporting the arts and culture sector as we can’t do it alone. The hope is that every little bit of monetary or non-monetary support will see our artists, collectives and arts organisations’ artistry through these times. If the vibrancy of the nation is our collective responsibility, we will need to collaboratively work on stabilising the arts and culture sector,” says Izan Satrina.

MyCreative Ventures continues to support the wider creative communities by providing sales support for the publishing and fashion industry, financing facilities, in addition to rolling out their first virtual curated platform with RIUH in conjunction with Raya. These are new initiatives on top of the existing online performances and webinars.

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