Friday, 23 March 2012

Art tracting more tourists

PUTRAJAYA: The Tourism Ministry is trying to get international artists to come and stay in the country as part of its efforts to make Malaysia the art hub for South-East Asia.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the ministry was clear in its objective, which was to elevate Malaysia's status as an art lovers' destination for both local and South-East Asian art.

However, she said it would not set rigid strategies to achieve this objective, preferring the art community to set the direction.

“We (the ministry) are not experts. We offer (private) art galleries to join in on art tourism, and we also seek their recommendations and input on setting the art gallery trail.

“We haven't started but we are also trying to get international artists to come and stay here. We also want art critics to come and judge our work.

“But we don't know if we are ready yet. That is why we need to get the art community involved,” she said after launching the Femme Flora art exhibition at the ministry's lobby here yesterday.

She said that although the concept of using art to promote tourism was still quite new in Malaysia, the country could very well be the art hub for the region if the figure were to be an indication.

Art tourism bagged RM14mil in sales when it was introduced in 2010, with the value of art purchases in Malaysia going up to RM17mil in 2011.

Dr Ng said the ministry had to deal with a fair bit of scepticism from the local art community when it first launched art tourism until the success of the Henry Butcher auction, in which some RM1.3mil worth of art pieces were sold in 2010.

Meanwhile, 69 art pieces worth an estimated RM345,000 will be on display during the Femme Flora exhibition, which will be on until April 30.

Organised as part of the Women's Month celebration, the exhibition is a showcase of art by 29 women from 10 countries, including Malaysia, Australia, China, Finland, Iran, South Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan.


posted from Bloggeroid

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