By JAYDEE LOK
Thus cultivating artistic talent in young people, without compromising the science and technological edge, is necessary to ensure the growth of a balanced nation.
“Not every young Malaysian needs to grow up to be a doctor or an engineer,” said Youth and Sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin at the launch of the Young Malaysian Artists: New Object(ion) II (YMA2U) at Galeri Petronas in Kuala Lumpur last week.
Acknowledging the importance of the subject, Khairy said that art has the ability to make powerful statements that sometimes cannot be expressed through words and speech.
He noted that several artwork at the exhibition can be seen as social or political commentaries put forward in profound manners.
“Young Malaysian artists are valuable to society because they capture and document the culture, spirit and soul of the Malaysian people,” he added.
Enthusiastic and supportive of young Malaysian artists, the Umno Youth chief also believes the a nation becomes richer because of its artists.
“To find the soul of a country, you must look at its artists and look at its art,” he said.
Khairy also said that the Ministry of Youth and Sports advocates the policy of maximising every young Malaysian’s potential and that they believe that every young Malaysian has a different talent to showcase.
“We don’t want to streamline every Malaysian to (science) if they enjoy art and have creative demands,” he said.
Khairy added that the ministry wants to ensure that young Malaysians are encouraged to continuously express themselves through events like YMA2U and to explore their creative potential.
An art collector himself, Khairy said that he is always on the lookout for new young Malaysian artists and that among his local favourites are Samsudin Wahab and Ivan Lam.
“I have a painting of his (Samsudin Wahab) right on top of my bed. I managed to buy that when he was unknown. Now, of course, I can’t afford him any more,” he said.
Khairy also said that he is very impressed by the works of young Malaysian artists and that they are important because these young artists are defining the new art scene in the country today. He also believes that the local artists are on par with their international counterparts.
“I think we have a tremendous pool of (talented) young artists in Malaysia, “ he said.
“It’s about time that Malaysian art comes to the fore internationally. I think we’ve got artists who can match and even surpass (the level of) artists from other parts of the region,” he said.