KUALA LUMPUR: The Light Project, a collaboration with urban development firm Think City, kicked off in Kuala Lumpur on Friday with the unveiling of “STAR/KL”, an installation by acclaimed local light artist Jun Ong.
Under the project, six cities – Kuala Lumpur, Batu Pahat, Kuching, Ipoh, Melaka and Butterworth – will be lit up with public art installations and curated performances until March.
Its aim is to ignite creativity and inspire the nation’s arts and culture sector to rise above the pandemic, and breathe new life into Malaysia’s arts scene.
The Light Project is one of the programmes under the Cultural Economy Development Agency’s (Cendana) annual “Art in the City” initiative, which was launched at the end of October and features a wide array of arts- and culture-related programmes until year-end.
After the launch of The Light Project at The Godown on Jalan Ampang, there was a five-second countdown, after which a flash emerged from all four floors of the venue’s concrete annexe, revealing Ong’s site-specific installation.
“STAR/KL” conveys a sense of disconnectedness, with each line of light separated by a gap. The installation complements the century-old venue, an abandoned colonial structure that was once a Dutch warehouse and is now an arts centre and event space.
Together, installation and setting work as one to convey Ong’s intent. As the 33-year-old puts it: “A starburst is used to describe a region of space that is undergoing a large amount of formation” – symbolising the potential of Malaysia’s arts scene, and the beauty that can come from artists working together.
“STAR/KL” has a limited lifespan: its light will dim over 121 days until it goes out completely.
Ong’s idea to light it in stages instead of all at once comes about from his own thin corneas and sensitivity to glaring lights. “I start with darkness, then slowly use light to unravel that darkness,” he says.
With the overarching theme of this year’s “Arts in the City” being sustainable art, The Godown has been filled with sculptures and fixtures made from bamboo, thanks to a collaborative effort between local architecture studios and Orang Asli organisations.
At the launch, Cendana founder and CEO Izan Satrina Mohd Sallehuddin said the aim of the initiative was to inspire Malaysians to rise above the struggles of Covid-19.
“I am overcome with emotion seeing our local creatives come up with their own ways of motivating the masses through art,” she added.
Make your way to The Godown, Kuala Lumpur, to see ‘STAR/KL’ before the light dims.
7 & 11 Jalan Ampang,
50250 Kuala Lumpur