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Sunday, 16 October 2016

Over 20 Puppeteers and Musicians Will Showcase “One ASEAN Story” in George Town

PRESS RELEASE

Penang (16/10)-Following a series of ASEAN Puppet Exchange (APEX) workshops across Southeast Asia, over 20 puppet artists and musicians from the APEX collective will gather in George Town from 16-21 October 2016 to collaboratively continue designing the “One ASEAN” story with the focus on the ASEAN economic community. Puppeteers and musicians from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Japan will come together to join Malaysia’s artists for APEX’s 9th consecutive exchange. The final demonstration of “One ASEAN Story” will be held on 22 October 2016 at 8pm, at MBPP Town Hall in partnership with Joe Sidek Productions of George Town Penang and Artsolute Ltd of Singapore.

The storyline that will be produced in the 6-day-worskhop is titled “APEX Live” which will be the 5th story in APEX definitive storyline of One ASEAN. The theme “Live” shall focus on the ASEAN Economic Community where workshops and demonstration performances will focus on daily life, family and livelihoods in ASEAN.

“We need to connect. All of us here in APEX, as artists, who are part of a growing and bigger world, with bigger challenges and a more crowded planet. I think we are feeling it, so we want to connect. In the past, there are so many amazing people with no internet and cellular phones, who can pick up so many languages, draw everything by hand, spend their whole lives curious and interested to explore. I miss that, and want to see that, that is why I want APEX, to teach us how to do all that again,” Terence Tan, Director, Artsolute said.

Visiting artists involved represent the Sovanna Phum Art Association (Cambodia), Jampalao (Laos), SENA WANGI (Indonesia), Htwe Oo Myanmar (Myanmar), Sri Warisan Som Said (Singapore) and Joe Louis Theatre (Thailand). Guest artists include representatives from Utervision of Japan, who will observe and incorporate ideas and ways of intercultural exchange to their practices in Tokyo.

“It’s a very important programme. Not all country has the same thought, for example discrimination. However, when we work together we never think of all that. We never look at the religion we believe in. We never look at the nationality we come from. It is a special thing we can find when we do this kind of exchange program,” Mann Kosal, Creative Director of Sovannah Phum Art Association said

Similarly, head of the local Htwe Oo Myanmar puppet troupe, Khim Maung Htwe, described his participation in APEX not only had broadened his perspective on puppetry art in other ASEAN countries, but also had allowed him to learn about rich and diverse cultural values, stories, and beliefs in the ASEAN region.

“In a series of APEX exchanges, we have learned about each other’s different puppetry styles, and we have shared our experiences in many ways. Puppetry is an essential form of art that can contribute to forging cultural integration among ASEAN members since it is borderless, it does not speak one language, and it does not have religion. I hope that we, the puppet artists in the ASEAN region will continue the meaningful exchanges and collaborations,“ he added.

With the ASEAN Puppet Exchange promoting a two way cultural and people to people exchange, there will be greater understandings of our varied livelihoods, and through the tale, forge a common identity.
The APEX collective is a membership of over 160 ASEAN puppet artists and practitioners who have come together to promote the mobility of artists and appreciation of ASEAN as one community. Since 2014, APEX has used puppet performances and workshops across Southeast Asia, from Yangon to Jakarta, to help ASEAN’s people recognise and understand the unity and diversity of all ten ASEAN member states’ cultures, stories and languages.

APEX also aims to develop the work of ASEAN’s puppet artists and a long-term relationship of collaboration and understanding among artists within and outside of ASEAN. With the support of the Japan-ASEAN Solidarity Fund administered by ASEAN Foundation, APEX is one step closer to the development of the One ASEAN puppet show and tour in 2017 to celebrate ASEAN’s 50th Anniversary. With this cultural treasure, APEX shall demonstrate ASEAN’s interconnected traditions and cultures, provide an overview of ASEAN as a region and help develop new and wondrous art for its people.

“Promoting the awareness of ASEAN through culture is essential in order to build people's understanding towards the culture of the region, its similarities and differences between and among ASEAN Member States, as well as to protect the distinctiveness of the ASEAN cultural heritage as a whole. These objectives are brought into realisation through the ASEAN Puppets Exchange Programme (APEX),” Elaine Tan, the Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation said.

Moreover, APEX is a strategic programme that provides a platform and opportunity for puppet artists to not only be a performer but also a productive artist who can contribute to developing ASEAN’s cultural heritage, Tan adds. APEX is organised by Artsolute with the support of ASEAN’s puppeteers of all ten member states. The 10th and final exchange of 2016 will be held in Hanoi, Viet Nam this December.

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Notes to Editor
About ASEAN Foundation

Three decades after ASEAN was established, ASEAN leaders recognized that: there remained inadequate shared prosperity, ASEAN awareness and contact among people of ASEAN. It was of this concern that ASEAN leaders established ASEAN Foundation during ASEAN’s 30th Anniversary Summit in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia on 15 December 1997, ASEAN Foundation is an organisation from and for the people of ASEAN. The Foundation exists because of one vision: to build a cohesive and prosperous ASEAN Community. As an ASEAN’s body, the Foundation is tasked to support ASEAN mainly in promoting awareness, identity, interaction and development of the people of ASEAN. For more information, visit: http://aseanfoundation.org

About Artsolute Asia
Artsolute is a non-profit organisation that uses art as a means of social and community development in Singapore and South East Asia. Founded in 2011, it has supported the development and social needs of thousands of people in Singapore and Southeast Asia with its practices of empathy, creativity, and empowerment through various forms of art including drama, visual arts, puppetry and music. It also focuses on the training and development of youths through the arts as a means of empathy and innovation. More information, visit: http://www.artsolute.asia

About Joe Sidek Productions Sdn. Bhd.
Joe Sidek Productions Sdn Bhd was established in 2012 as an events management company specializing in the areas of arts, heritage and culture. The organisation is the official secretariat for George Town Festival, and has its primary role of administering and implementation of all George Town Festival programmes, partnerships, marketing and finance. Its other projects include managing and implementing Tropfest South East Asia.

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