LAB 2016 Inauguration: From Migration to Exploration


Photo courtesy of Prof. Dato Ryza Yaacob

Yang Mulia Engku Raja Omar Ikram Bin Raja Abdullah welcomed distinguished guests during the Langkawi Art Biennale 2016 Inauguration night. He delivered his opening speech in behalf of Yayasan Tunku Kassim, a non-profit organization founded by the royal family member Kedah, led by Yang Teramat Mulia Dr Tunku Monsor Ibni Almarhom Tunku Kassim.

Yayasan Tunku Kassim or YTK, according to YM Engku Raja “was established with the noble intention of contributing to the arts community focusing on various segments, among others conservation and restoration of local art pieces, relics and artefacts, providing support to the local artists through art development programme and getting involved in art educational projects at the national level.” He likewise acknowledged LAB2016 as one of the first initiatives taken to realize the vision, mission and objectives of YTK.

Likewise, he acknowledged the organizing committee who have contributed actively and voluntarily in the program, mentioning Mr. Liew Kian Yap, the Founder of Langkawi Art Biennale and Mr. Hairul Azizi Amat Tokimin, Coordinator of LAB 2016.

Here are excerpts from his speech:
“Once again, Langkawi island is hosting this remarkable gathering of international artists and art enthusiasts from all around the world after two years since the LAB inception in 2014. In this regard, I would like to congratulate Yayasan Tunku Kassim, Yayasan Wiba Prima, Artmalaysia, Yayasan Hasanah, LADA, and other agencies for the successful organisation of LAB2016.

Art is adored either for its beauty or to capture a mood or feeling or just an object of enjoyment for its own sake. The great debate on art, what it is and why it’s so great has been going on for centuries but there’s no right or wrong answers since art as most believe is all about ideas. The value of art is again another popular debate among artists, collectors and enthusiasts. Be it the work of a madman like Van Gogh, or the length of time the work took to complete, or the years of study, or the genius mind that translated his idea through art on canvass, the disputes are endless. Despite the differences, art never fails to capture the heart of its makers and admirers who embrace the same dream that art will never cease to exist, hence the reason we are all here tonight.

The Langkawi Art Biennale marked its presence in this beautiful island in 2014 with its “Migration” theme participated by 250 artists from 38 countries. The first event organized by ArtMalaysia had seen overwhelming response from the artists and the audience alike.

The journey continues this year in 2016 and as an extension of the previous theme, in which the program amplifies the tune to “Exploration” theme by exposing participating artists to new discoveries of various areas Langkawi has to offer – from cultures and religion to local lifestyle, nature and even culinary adventure. All these elements combined, leads to a deeper connotation that is to be more environmentally conscious and to raise environmental awareness. I must say we are fortunate to be here to witness the expression of the artists throughout their Langkawi “Exploration” experience in their canvasses, sculptures and installation works.

The presence of significant number of artists, both local and international, as well as art enthusiasts at LAB2016, is clearly an indication that Langkawi Art Biennale has begun to establish itself as an upcoming premier international venue for art exhibition and art tourism in this Land of Eagle. Your presence throughout the week is indeed the lifeblood of this event and we sincerely thank you for that.

Finally, we are grateful that all of you are here tonight so we just hope that the work of arts you will be seeing and contemplating along the hallway and the exhibition room will capture your emotions in such a way that they manifest the consciousness of the artists relative to the “Exploration” theme this year. Let the art pieces speak to you whether they’re sending you pleasant, blissful, gloomy or sad messages through those frames and sculptures.”