KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 — About 8,000 people thronged Gong Xi RIUH at APW Bangsar this weekend to enjoy a gastronomical and arts adventure, despite the rain and proximity to Chinese New Year.
Riuh — a creative platform curated with a variety of pop-up stores and food, creative workshops showcases and live performances — is held monthly for one weekend.
Visitor Maryam Khair, 26, who visited the event along with her cousins, said she found about the event through Instagram and felt happy to be a part of it.
“I often come to events organised by Riuh before this with my other family members and this was my first day here at their Chinese New Year themed event,” she said.
Friends Masha Nazarenko, 31, and Eva Hermoso, 37, both staying nearby, visited the event and also come very often to the event.
“This is our first time participating in a Chinese New Year-themed Riuh so there’s a lot of things to try. It’s been very enjoyable for us,” they said.
Vendors who were invited to be part of the event said responses was overwhelming for the past two days.
Hunger Garage spokesperson Faris Ahmad Farid, 26, said their meatball pasta and salted egg chicken were well-received by patrons.
“We sold out our 300 servings of pasta that we have prepared yesterday and our salted egg chicken is also a hot-seller,” he said.
Faris said they were initially not confident of making good sales since it was their first time participating but the turnout was unexpected.
Mel’s Kitchen chef Ariffadillah Hassim or ‘Eddie Ariff’, 31, said he prepared a special dish, salted egg yolk chicken bruschetta, based on Italian and Chinese cuisine in conjunction with Riuh’s festival theme.
Ariffadillah, a chef based in Dubai who is currently on vacation, said their hot seller was their bruschetta, beef balls and lasagne.
“We were informed that there would be about 3,000 people, which is a very good turnout but we certainly did not expect the crowd for both days,” he said.
He helped out his sister, Melissa, who also prepared yam and fruit cake at their popup store.
Apart from food stalls, those from the creative industry were also given an opportunity to showcase their works.
One of it was Rustic Malaysia, an art gallery run by artist Rashidtop.
Rustic Malaysia art architect Alfian Rashid, son of Rashidtop, said Riuh provided a platform to expose to people the beauty of local artworks.
“My father who produced these artworks is very passionate about Malaysian culture and most of his artworks revolved around it,” he said.
Alfian said his father used traditional methods of drawing with pen and ink.
“The fine nib of the fountain pen allows for detailed drawings in which art enthusiasts both local and foreign valued a lot,” he said.
He said the main objective of his popup store was not to sell artworks, but to promote them to the public.
“Even though the original piece is in the gallery, we want to give an exhibition to the public so they can buy a copy and hang it in their office or house which will look very lovely.
“That has been achieved thanks to Riuh, who were very generous in providing us ample space to display our work so visitors can enjoy them comfortably,” he said.
Rashidtop, a panel artist under the National Visual Art and Gallery who has been drawing since secondary school, said his art subjects were largely based on Malaysian culture because he believed old aspects of it should be remembered.
“I travel very often and sometimes you pass by rural houses abandoned long ago, which makes me appreciate them more.
“They are our old traditional artefacts of our culture and we not forget them,” he said.
Riuh chief operating officer Melissa Low Wan Fong said she was initially concerned about the turnout due to rain and because most people may have begun taking leave for Chinese New Year.
“We were at first worried of the rain because some of our activities are held outdoors.
“To my surprise, we have about 8,000 people turning up for both days and surpassed initial expectation,” she said.
Melissa said Riuh started as a platform to support and provide visibility for the creative industry to promote Malaysian culture to the masses.
“We want to give people to experience an alternative place to hang out like a curated mall.
“We have different popup stores customised accordingly to different themes for each Riuh organised monthly,” she said.
She said Riuh was first kickstarted in August last year and this was its first Chinese New Year theme.
“It has expanded since then and have included live arts, workshops and performance endorsed by the Cultural Economy Development Agency (CENDANA) in Malaysia.
Riuh will be organising their next event from March 24 to 25, which will be a tribute to artiste P. Ramlee in conjunction with his birthday.