By CHOONG MEK ZHIN Photos by CHAN TAK KONG | Apr 12, 2010
Map-ping the art scene
Surrounded by art: Various talks, readings, debates and poetry readings can take place in the White Box
ANYTHING art-related under one roof. That is the effort undertaken by the developer of the Solaris Dutamas project in Mont’ Kiara, simply called MAP.
MAP strives to provide a comprehensive and large space dedicated to arts and culture.
“MAP is spearheading the development content of the Solaris Dutamas project that, when completed, will feature different types of spaces for anything art such as an art park, piazza and street,” MAP consultant Nani Kahar said.
She said MAP was just the beginning to go into building a real and complete art community with the retail centre as the key component consisting of galleries and shops showcasing local arts and culture.
“It is almost like a one-stop centre for arts. We envision in the long term a bustling art community with plenty of activities and maybe even auctions,” Nani said, adding that the project will provide the much needed space that Kuala Lumpur lacks for arts to grow.
As for MAP itself, it consists of two spaces named the Black Box and White Box that when combined takes up about 12,000sq ft of floor space.
“The White Box, like the name implies, gives an airy feeling with its visually lighter space and plenty of natural lighting. On one side we also have the view of the park,” Nani said, adding that the space also had a simple audio video system and projector.
She added that the space was unique because of the mobile tall white boxes that could be arranged any way to best display the art.
Black Box, on the other hand is exactly the opposite and no daylight gets in this area.
“It gives total control over the environment. We have heavy duty lighting and audio video system installed in this space, making it perfect for performance-based arts,” Nani said.
MAP’s space is open to both professionals and amateurs seeking the venue to showcase their art.
“Our future plans include welcoming more vernacular-based programmes in addition to the English-centric ones that are very dominant these days,” she said.
Nani added that though they already had a number of programmes and activities to keep the team of five people busy throughout the rest of the year, they still have space for more while rates were flexible depending on the project’s purpose and requirements.
MAP encourages community-driven and positive projects.
“If possible, we do not want to draw the line as to what is allowed or not because here at MAP we are trying to support freedom of expression,” Nani said, adding that each request to use the space will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
The movers: (From right) Nani, executive Erna Dyanty, assistant manager Goh Sze Ying and arts and media relations manager Alex Yong are part of the five-man team, including consultant Peter Kiernan who is not pictured here, who run the arts and culture platform
The recent two-day MAP Arts Festival marks the opening of MAP with 20 artists exhibiting their works and more than 100 musicians, poets and speakers both individual and in groups doing performances, talks, debates and even poetry reading.
“We also have 19 giant wooden spools scattered throughout Solaris Dutamas which are designed by individuals or groups. We are also in the process of completing our Jamban Tour,” Nani said.
As the name goes, Jamban Tour which literally translates into Toilet Tour will see the 16 toilets taking on unique themes each.
“We have already proposed the idea to some people to take on designing a theme for the toilets and have received some positive feedback,” she said.
Nani said each year they would organise three festivals dedicated to fashion, food and community.
“This year is an exception. We have six festivals planned because we are trying to convince others that this idea of building an art community is real and we are serious,” Nani said, adding that bazaars will be an essential part of the festivals.
The team uses social media Twitter and Facebook to publicise its events and activities.
“We only opened the accounts barely two weeks before our opening event, the Arts Festival, but the word got around so quickly that on the first day itself we had about 2,000 visitors!” Nani said.