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Underdog Festival Shines!

Ipoh Kreative 2016, hosted by Projek Rabak, took place from January 24 till 30 at eleven different locations around Ipoh. With over forty nine different local and international artists and performers, this independent festival has proven that Ipoh has a big potential to become Malaysia’s hub for creativity.
Launched at Ipoh’s iconic market, Pasar Loken, Adun for Manung and also the chairman of Tourism Perak Management Berhad, En Kamil Dato’ Shafie, officiated the affair. He was proud to see the initiative taken by young Ipohites and hoped to see more  art festivals happening in Ipoh. Last year alone, three different festivals took place here; the first Ipoh Kreative, Borak Art Youth (BAYS) and The Other Festival. These three festivals managed to grab not only the attention of locals but also international tourists. Ipoh Kreative’s director, Mohd Jayzuan wished more would support their dream to make Ipoh the city centre for creativity.
“The development of a city can be measured by its community’s ability to think beyond the closed circle and critically. Thus, this festival is held as a celebration to the many forms of creative leagues and to encourage analytical thinking and fostering understanding of different opinions and ideas.”
Later on the same day, at Khizanat, audiences were introduced to ‘Ipoh Avant-Garde Special’ where five different talented performers discussed and performed the new art of experimental music to the public. Ipoh Kreative is a combination of art, music, film, economy, fashion, coffee, lifestyle, pop culture and of course, literature. The second day of the event took place at Sepaloh Art Gallery which saw two events designed for literature lovers where Mutalib Uthman, CEO for DuBook Press was given the honour to talk about the new wave of alternative books. According to Mutalib or Mut, it is important for writers, experienced or new, to stick to being true to themselves when writing books.
“Everyone can write a book. Everyone can publish a book. But what about the content? When writing, what do you want from the reader? Ask yourself, why am I writing this. Find the answer first.” Mut, a funny man himself, opened the eyes of his audiences at the session when he shared the challenges he faced when he first started DuBook back in 2010.
“I had to put on a thick face and sell my own book. I know how hard it is to be a successful writer so when any new writers come and approach me for help, I’ll put 101% effort for them,” DuBook was one of the pioneer alternative book publishers and Mut is happy to see more publishers coming in and printing books that actually will trigger the minds of its readers. After Mut’s session, one of the co-founder of Projek Rabak, Riduan A.Dullah talked about ‘Rabak Writing & Poetry’ where he discussed how to express your feelings through writing.
“Suffering is an advantage when it comes to writing,” said Riduan, a sentence that caught my attention. Later on the same night, together with over 150 in the audience, we were awed and entertained by seven poets at the poetry party. While poets like Muharos, Meor Hailree, Jack Malik, Riduan A.Dullah and Seyn Jukey charmed everyone with their one of a kind poetry style, it was the three female performers who grabbed my attention. Lara Hassan’s carefree style, Fynn Jamal’s on her rant about being stuck between mainstream and independent media and the amazing Melizarani T. Selva with her ‘Macha That Got Away’. Melizarani’s book, ‘Taboo’ published last year got into MPH’s Top 10 best-seller list and is available in major bookstores across Mumbai, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
As a film-lover myself, I had a great time attending three of Ipoh Kreative’s sessions where I got to meet one of the upcoming film directors, (known for her short film ‘Odah’ and Khalilah), Junad M. Nor, who conducted a workshop on film, script and directing. Junad discussed what encouraged her and how she is keen to create something that can be enjoyed by everyone for a long time. Soon after the workshop, the Ipoh Film Festival was held at Yasmin at Kong Heng museum. From Ipoh Kreative’s own documentary, Nadia Ngidam Cili (Nadia Cravings Chili), Poskad Dari Seberang (What The Man Needs is Loneliness), Aku Bukan Nietzche (I am not Nietzche) to the special premier of Behind the Scenes of Jagat; a local film which captured the hearts of everyone and a definite must watch. Courtesy of Goethe Institute, the official institute for German culture and Projek Rabak’s hard work, Ipohites were in for a treat as ‘Berlinale Shorts Go Abroad’ were viewed exclusively free for Ipoh Kreative. The films that were labelled as controversial, disturbing and testing the limits of anyone’s comprehension moved everyone at Khizanat on January 29 and many who stayed until the last film.
For anyone who shared the same interest as me in exploring the local music scene, Kamal Sabran is not an unknown name. He is a talented artist-musician and also the founder of Space Gambus Experiment, an experimental music and sound art collective. Together with other talented performers such as Lara Hassan, Eric Hausman, Hakim Sattu and many more, they joined forces and performed under Space Banjo Circus where they became the opening act for Ipoh Kreative’s final session, Alternative Music Showcase at Insider Satellite on January 30. I was also charmed during ‘Singer, Song-writer Affair’ held on January 28 at Chokodok Raggae House where Anaz, Wira, Sam Lopez and coming all the way from Kuching, Amy Amin sang their hearts out.
After seven days of attending the festival, it will be hard to deny how big Ipoh Kreative’s potential is. Without any big funding, the team of Projek Rabak has certainly proved to everyone that hard work definitely pays off. Everything about Ipoh Kreative was done in Ipoh style, no hustle and bustle. It was indeed a great event organised by our own Ipohites and I am definitely looking forward to attend it again next year!
Ipoh Echo is proud to have been the Media Sponsor for this festival.
 

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