Sehati Sejiwa: Aza from The Art Seni speaks about exposing art to Malaysians

We spoke to Aza Iza, founder at The Art Seni. She is a marketer at a matchmaking agency by day and Art Seni creator by night. She was exposed to the arts since she was a little girl by her mother who frequently brought her to creative art events. From there and with age, she gained enough confidence to join the scene to improve it.

Art Seni is an online group with a goal to bridge art and people together by focusing on its inaccessibility in Malaysia by providing a platform for the public to explore art. They strive to integrate art in their daily lives through collaborations between various industries. Amongst the things they do at The Art Seni are curated art tours, art exhibitions and art programmes. Let's see what Aza has to say! 

Tell me more about yourself and what made you start The Art Seni?

Aza: I often visit art galleries and go for creative events. Every time I did, people ALWAYS ask me where, what and how after viewing my social media posts. I saw the gap and so one random night, I posted a series of tweets of ongoing art exhibitions, and it blew up overnight and Art Seni became an accidental business to help bridge the people and art in Malaysia.

What does art mean to you?

Aza: To me, art is a form of expression and also a job for many that involves a lot of processes. Art also represents a country's culture too, that's often neglected.

Malaysia is a country with rich culture and heritage. Do you think we have enough representation in the Malaysian art space?

Aza: In terms of art representation, yes we do! We have over 50 galleries in KL alone and these galleries actively promote our local art/artists. although heritage & culture fall under the same category, they are often represented separately and rarely in the galleries/spaces.

In your opinion, what role does art play in the lives of a Malaysian?

Aza: Nowadays, art is available everywhere around us. In cafes, malls, outdoors, in the streets, festivals etc. Art plays a huge role in our everyday life by contributing to our moods, productivity and healing even.

If you could pick one thing to educate Malaysians about art, what would it be?

Aza: That the art scene here is bigger than we think it is and Malaysians often assume that our art scene has nothing to offer. Informing them of the existence of our art scene will only help Malaysians be aware and explore further.

How can Malaysians involve themselves with art if they have never done so before?

Aza: A great way to encourage Malaysians is through integrated programmes and activities. In the recent years, it is clear that Malaysians tend to be more involved in the arts when it is integrated with something else. For example, visual arts and music, unconventional art collaborations (brands + artists), sip and paint kind of activities and other integrated stuff.

You mentioned that art is somewhat inaccessible in Malaysia. Why do you think that is so?

Aza: It is inaccessible because we have so many art galleries, so many artists, so much art around us, but why aren't people paying enough attention to it? It is because there isn't really enough art information provided for Malaysians to use to explore on their own. Unfortunately, only those who know, know. Those who don't, wont know.

What are your goals for The Art Seni and how does that translate/contribute to the Malaysian art scene?

Aza: Art Seni aims to create greater art accessibility through our art tours and programmes, collaborations and projects to help grow the art scene here in Malaysia. We hope to increase art in our daily lives while increasing art awareness amongst Malaysians

How do we attend your tours and what can I expect at a tour organized by The Art Seni? 

Aza: The Art Seni tours are weekly tours where we visit at least 3 art galleries to introduce the art scene to you. Our tours are done is very casual manner to make it relatable and most importantly understandable. But ever since MCO, our physical tours have slowed down, but we now run online art tours where guests are able to meet, interact and learn from artists themselves!

Follow us on our Instagram, Facebook & Twitter at @theartseni to find out more about our upcoming tours and activities.

Note: You don't need to know anything about art to attend our art tours! Everyone is welcome to join!

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