Duration: 8th May 31st May 2015
Official Launch: 8th May 2015
Location: Galeri Chandan, Kuala Lumpur
2014 was a trying year for Malaysia. While the nation was still trying to come to terms with three aviation tragedies as the year coming to the end, the country had to face the somber event of the worst flood disaster in history. It caused a huge damage to some parts of the east coast states in Malaysia. The water level of Sungai Kelantan at Tambatan DiRaja had risen tremendously and it was recorded to be 34.17 meters high; almost 10 meters higher than it’s dangerous level which is 25 meters.
In many instances, victims had recollected that their houses were fully submerged in less than two hours. Helpless, all they could do was to wade through to get to safety. Over 200,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes.
During the days that ensued, donations of daily necessities including drinking water, food, and clothing poured in from all around the country. International assistance in the form of medical, materials, tents, blankets, water purification units had helped to ease the catastrophe too. Accessibility was another challenge however; as some villages were cut off completely.
One mother of four with children aged two to ten, shared how terrifying it was to witness their home shifted from the ground, and then crushed under strong force of water and timber. The children were put into water barrels and relocated on top of the hill. For weeks, they were cut off from help and assistance, and relied on bananas and bamboo shoots for nourishment.
Though it seemed like December took forever to end, there was little joy in welcoming the New Year. As water receded, the true picture of devastation began to emerge. 21 fatalities were recorded, and in total, damages to property and infrastructure have been approximated to be close to RM1 billion. Recovery costs and repairs are estimated to be close to RM900 million.
But not all losses are quantifiable. The victims did not just lose their houses and personal belongings, but more of their homes with every trinkets of memory. Their crops and livestock were destroyed, together with their future income and livelihood. While it was safe to leave the rescue centres, they moved back into the unfamiliar lives of barren lands. Families put up tents where their houses used to be. The luckier ones were able to have temporary houses, but with leaking roofs only plastered with used banners, and resorting to flashlights hung from nearby trees to light up their nights. This is where the real struggle is: in picking up the pieces and rebuilding lives, hopes and purpose.
As with any other disasters and tragedies, cash is not sufficient to bring recovery. Money alone would not be enough to bring life back. While these people grapple to get back into the rhythm of living, society’s role is to help foster this process so that they can continue to feel empowered and motivated to do so.
Nurturing developments for progress is an area Galeri Chandan is proven to be passionate about. As part of its efforts to nurture a condusive ecosystem within the local arts scene, Galeri Chandan has participated and organised numerous community art projects. Galeri Chandan has also made leveraged for arts to spread its influence and offer assistance and support to community at large. In addition to its annual charity shows during Ramadan and subsequent donations to selected orphanages, in 2009, Galeri Chandan had organised the I Miss Him So Much show as an endeavour to help raise part of the RM 251,000 needed to build Asrama Donni in Kiulu, Sabah. The hostel now occupies 100 students, and this facility saves these school-going children from having to walk for four hours each day in order to reach school.
This time, Galeri Chandan joins forces with the Islamic Aid Malaysia (IAM). Together, we are delighted to organise #Art4ManekUrai,a Charity Art Show to raise funds to build permanent houses for affected families in Manek Urai.
This is following through IAM’s flood relief mission in Pahang and Kelantan last December. After 14 continuous days of a relief effort, the natural next step is to ease the victims in rebuilding the homes and lives. In this regard, IAM’s decision to focus on the development of permanent housing and progress post tragedy is in line with the intent to nurture livelihood beyond monetary contributions.
For #Art4ManekUrai, Galeri Chandan and IAM are delighted to present the works of Ahmad Shukri Mohamed, Aini AB, Al-Khuzairie Ali, Amar Shahid Salehudin, Asyraf Ramli, Azrin Mohd, Badruddin Syah Abdul Wahab, Dhiyannah Hassan, Edroger Rosili, Heikal Taki, Hirman Rasid, Hirzaq Harris, Khairudin Zainudin, Khairuzikri Mohamad Shahid, Liu Cheng Hua, Mahadi Ayob, Megat Zaim Zharif, Mia Farizza, Mohd Azri Abdullah, Muhammad Amir Amin, Rushdi Ahmad, Sabri Idrus, Safar Zin, Sofia Haron, Stephen Menon, Tiong Siew Yun, Umibaizurah Mahir@Ismail, and Zulkiflee Lee. These are the artists who have stepped forward and answered the call of compassion. This list is likely to expand as we will continue to accept submissions from artists throughout the entire running of this show.
By today’s definition, social currency is a term attributed to one’s measure of digital presence. We operate on a different social scale altogether. We believe that presence and making a difference in society will bring immeasurable inner satisfaction, and that is a greater currency we should all strive for. Come what may, humanity must stick up for one another and persevere to rise above together. This is where we believe that fundraising through works of art takes this initiative full circle; for arts have always carried powerful voices of society and stories of life, experiences, reflections, hope, desire and purpose.
Moving forward, #Art4ManekUraiwill be only one of our other numerous joint initiatives under the #Art4Humanity programme; a long-term Art Aid collaboration to place a more concerted effort in their humanitarian contributions for the local communities, including but not limited to, areas of natural disaster relief, shelter, protection and education.
Together, what we aim for is sustainability. As the English proverb goes, Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. The way we see it, our approach to community programs like this is not a responsibility, but form part of our investment for a sustainable future.