Harnessing Malaysian creativity to rebuild the lives of Lombok earthquake survivors

Some of the artworks on display at ARTCUBE as part of the Affect Nusantara contemporary art exhibition. — Pictures courtesy of ARTCUBE
Some of the artworks on display at ARTCUBE as part of the Affect Nusantara contemporary art exhibition. — Pictures courtesy of ARTCUBE

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — Art possesses the power to change more than just the cultural landscape.

It can also spark action that helps rebuild lives and shape a better future for those in need.

With this vision in mind, Malaysian Relief Agency (MRA) announced its fundraising initiative Affect Nusantara which aims to use art to bring post-relief aid to survivors of the Lombok and Palu earthquakes in Indonesia.

The project has its sights set on raising RM300,000 to build sustainable shelters called Rumah Syukur for families affected by the disasters.

The shelters will provide a more permanent housing solution for them and alleviate the sanitation, health, and safety issues currently faced by those living in temporary tent shelters.

Under the Affect Nusantara initiative, a contemporary art exhibition by Malaysian artists is being held at ARTCUBE until Feb 26 featuring art from Ahmad Fuad Osman, Anniketyni Madian, Azad Daniel Haris, Eng Hwee Chu, Fauzan Omar, Husin Hourmain, and Zulkifli Yusoff.

The artworks ruminate on the complex cultural, spiritual, and socioeconomic ties that bind Malaysia with the Nusantara region, and all creations will be available for purchase with proceeds going to Affect Nusantara.

Visitors can catch the exhibition at ARTCUBE until February 26.
Visitors can catch the exhibition at ARTCUBE until February 26.

The exhibition will be followed by a showcase from renowned photojournalist Mathias Heng at Bangsar Shopping Centre (BSC) from Feb 26 to March 4.

Heng’s emotionally charged exhibition will narrate his own experience of witnessing the aftermath of the disaster while a coffee table book with reprints of his work will be available for purchase during the event.

A designer showcase featuring specially crafted clothing, accessories, and jewellery by Indonesian artists will also be held at BSC and all proceeds will be channeled to Affect Nusantara.

MRA president Dr Mohd Daud Sulaiman emphasised how Affect Nusantara can spark hope and motivation in the Lombok and Palu earthquake survivors by improving their quality of life.

“Apart from being a fundraiser and relief aid initiative, Affect Nusantara also aims to uplift the spirits of those affected by helping them re-establish basic needs for physical survival,” he said in a press release.

He added that the generosity and empathy of Malaysians for their neighbouring countries were especially crucial in easing the plight of the Nusantara region that is prone to earthquakes.

The Lombok earthquakes killed more than 400 people and injured more than 7,000 in July and August 2018, with tens of thousands of residents displaced from their homes.

A quake-tsunami in September 2018 killed around 2,200 people in Palu with thousands more still missing.

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