Arts Exhibition: "Malay Theatre: Intangible Cultural Heritage and Islam"


This is a listing of older East-West Center events (newer listed first).  See Events to get the list of current or upcoming events.

When: Feb 7 2016 - 12:00pm until May 22 2016 - 4:00pm
Where: East-West Center Gallery
Curators: Kathy Foley (Wayang), Patricia Hardwick (Mak Yong), and Michael Schuster
Exhibition design: Lynne Najita
Exhibition gala opening
Sunday, February 7, 2:00-3:30pm
Including reception and live Indonesian puppet performance (wayang golek)
by visiting curator Kathy Foley

In traditional Malaysian theatre styles, such as shadow­puppetry (wayang kelantan) and the female dance drama (mak yong), influences from a variety of religions and cultures combined to create unique and distinctive Malay art forms. Through the display of puppets, costumes, instruments, video and photographs, this exhibition offers insight into these complex theatre forms and explores the social issues currently facing traditional Malaysian arts.
These art forms have been recognized by international authorities as “intangible cultural heritage,” which include traditions or living expressions inherited from ancestors, such as oral traditions, performing arts and traditional craft skills. But in recent decades, conservative religious models from the Middle East have introduced rejection of many of the more tolerant traditions of Southeast Asian Islam, prohibiting the representation of human form, banning women and men performing together, and rejecting spirit beliefs and that are part of local genres. This has led to a paradoxical situation in which traditional forms have been banned by authorities in some localities as being as “un-Islamic,” while they continue to be honored as national arts by the Malaysian federal government.
For more detailed background information on the exhibition and Southeast Asian performing arts, download the exhibition handout.

This exhibition is made possible by generous support from Richard H. Cox, The Hawaii Pacific Rim Society, and Aqua-Aston Hospitality.



EWC Arts Programs are supported by EWC Arts ‘Ohana members, Jackie Chan Foundation USA, Jean E. Rolles, and other donors.

Special Events:

All in the EWC Gallery with free admission, unless otherwise noted
Sunday, February 7, 2:00–3:30 p.m.
Exhibition Gala Opening including reception and live Indonesian puppet performance (wayang golek) by visiting curator and dalang, Kathy Foley.
Sunday, February 28, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Family Day!Malaysian Kanak/Keiki Music!” by renowned children’s music educator Chet-Yeng Loong. Exploring Malaysian children’s music through folk songs, storytelling, and musical ­instruments.
Sunday, March 13, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk: “The Malaysian Negotiation: In Defense of ‘Cultural Schizophrenia’” by Nezia Azmi, International and Special Programs Coordinator, UHM College of Education. Presenting current conversations on what it means to be Malay using the lens of heritage performing arts.
Sunday, April 3, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk: “Malaysian Culture through the Lens of Music” by Dr. Chet-Yeng Yoong, Associate Professor, UHM Dept. of Music.
Saturday, April 9 & Sunday, April 10 
Concerts of mak yong and wayang kelantan by the Centre for Traditional Arts (PuTRA) of the National Arts Culture and Heritage Academy (ASWARA), from Kuala Lumpur, Mayalsia. See website for tickets and details.
Sunday, April 10, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk: “Battle of the Monkey Kings: Behind the Scenes of Balinese Wayang Listrik” by Anna Reynolds, Assistant Director, Battle of the Monkey Kings, and Professor Kirstin Pauka, Director, UHM Center for SE Asian Studies. They will discuss the recent UHM production.
Sunday, April 24, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
Film: “Bunohan” Introduction by Paul Rausch, Associate Director, UHM Center for SE Asian Studies. Screening the Malaysian drama thriller about boxing, highlighting Kelantan ­culture. Directed by Dain Iskandar Said. 2012, 97 minutes, film contains violent images.
Sunday, May 22, 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk: “Berpidato: The Art of Malay Oratory” by Wyatt Gordon, EWC Degree Fellow. He will discuss his recent competition-winning performance in Kuala Lumpur.

Gallery Info:
John A. Burns Hall, 1601 East-West Road
(corner Dole St. & East-West Rd.)
Gallery hours: Weekdays: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Sundays Noon-4:00 p.m.
For further information: 944-7177 
Primary Contact Info:
Phone: (808) 944-7177