The Art of Giving: Nobody Gets Left Behind aims to raise funds for the urban poor and marginalised community in downtown Kuala Lumpur.
She may not be a household name but illustrator Shieko Reto has been thrilling local art lovers with her whimsical and hilarious art for a few years now. Drawn on diverse canvas – from zines to tote bags, posters and postcards – her deceptively simple cartoons belie the gravity of her subject: the experience of trans women in a prejudiced society.
Her Waiting Room installation, shown at the Singapore Art Biennale in 2013, in particular captures the inner world of transgender persons in Malaysia, where transgender issues are still taboo and trans people live in waiting their whole life – ”waiting to heal from surgery, waiting (for a reply) for the job application, waiting for opportunities in life and waiting for acceptance from family and friends”, she said in an interview for the Singapore Art Museum.
It is only apt that now Waiting Room is finally on show in Malaysia, it is to help raise funds for the marginalised communities of Chow Kit whose lives are in limbo after the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development abruptly stopped the funding to their home and refuge, Pusat Bantuan Khidmat Sosial (Social Assistance and Services Centre or PBKS).
Part of The Art Of Giving: Nobody Gets Left Behind exhibition at Black Box MAP, Publika, Solaris Dutamas, which ends on April 5, Waiting Room is one of more than 20 works by eclectic artists who have come together in support of SEED (Social and Enabling Environment Development), a non-profit community organisation staffed by members of the communities themselves which ran the PBKS centre in Chow Kit.
For seven years, the PBKS drop-in centre has made a difference in the lives of those in need in the city. The centre caters to marginalised peoples such the homeless urban poor, people living with HIV, and the transgender community who face discrimination. The centre provides them with food and drink, medical advice, spiritual and religious guidance.
Other works on show include illustrations by Jun Kit of himself as a Man and as a Woman, silkscreen paintings by Bogus Merchandise and paintings on the Malay women by Norhayati Kaprawi.
Also noteworthy is Repent Or Die: The Rise of Shelah (2010) by Pang Khee Teik, part of a series of photographs made in “response to the Censorship Board’s Policy that LGBT characters should repent or die”. He may be better known as the LGBT activist behind the popular Seksualiti Merdeka festival, but Pang is an acclaimed photographer in his own right.
Some of the artists taking part in this fundraising exhibition include Dhiyanah Hassan, Nazreen Nizam Rao, Azura Kathleen McIlwraith, Sharon Chin, Rat Heist, Regina Ibrahim, Jellene Eva, Julya Oui and Poodien Free Spirit. The free admission exhibition runs till this Sunday, 11am to 6pm daily.
On April 4, a live performance, A Night Of Hope, will be held at the exhibition venue (8pm). The shows features performances by Elvira Arul, Wana, Sajad, Cicie Sinclair Blonde, Fazilah, Vee, Ayu Siti and others. Entry to the show is RM50 (donation). Book tickets at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on Facebook.
This exhibition takes place during ‘artACT!’, an initiative by MAP. This three-week long programme features exhibitions, documentary screenings, talks, workshops and special performances in the name of art and advocacy.