More than 250 art lovers and collectors attended the official opening of the second edition of “ARTS KL – Melbourne”. The event which was officiated by Malaysian-born Melbourne City Councillor Ken Ong and MATRADE Chief Executive Officer Datuk Dr Wong Lai Sum took place at the newly opened gallery, SpACE @ Collins, 278 Collins Street on 6th October.

In an effort to widen the base of exports, MATRADE is now also focusing on the promotion of soft exports, which includes design and arts as a means of boosting trade between the two countries.

During her opening speech, Wong said it was heartening to witness a thriving art scene in Malaysia and it was encouraging to see Malaysian art appreciated overseas. “The exposure of our art last year has resulted in widespread awareness, generating greater demand for works by contemporary artists from Malaysia,” she said. “Many of our artists have been invited to take part in international art exhibitions and art auctions.”

Joe Perri, President of the Australia Malaysia Business Council Victoria also noted that art and culture were equally important contributors to economic wellbeing. “It is definitely an export opportunity and a contributor to Malaysian GDP and overseas bilateral trade success.”

Featuring works by the late Ho Khay Beng and Khaw Sia, Fendy Zakri, Haffendi Anuar, Hasanul Isyraf Idris, Ismail Awi, Khairul Arshad, Lim Anuar, Raja Norzlipah Raja Ahmad, Rozana Mohamed, Yeoh Choo Kuan, Zaim Durulaman, photographer Layzhoz Yeap and 11-year-old Delwin Cheah the artworks were carefully selected based on market suitability. As part of MATRADE’s “business with a heart” initiative, the exhibition also carried the works of the handicap which received good response.

Asian contemporary artist Ch’ng Huck Theng who resumed his curatorial duties for the second year running pointed out the importance of the public being able to relate to the art by understanding its origins rather than merely admiring techniques and finished pieces.

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