The TDF programme was launched last year as part of Hasanah’s efforts to build capacity and strengthen the Malaysian Arts, Heritage and Culture (AHC) ecosystem. As part of this programme, artists are given support not only to develop their art, but to seek out new artists who would be able to continue their legacy. The programme has played a key role in encouraging the growth of contemporary art in Malaysia and preserving local artistic traditions – both of which have been identified by Hasanah as gaps in the Malaysian arts scene.
“Through A-RES, we give the artists six months to develop their talent. During this time, we bring them around to meet art collectors, attend art lectures and forums and meet other artists. At the end of their residency, we will organise an exhibition for them,” explained Bayu.
Looking at the walls of HOM Art Trans where the creative works of A-RES alumni are on display, it is clear the programme does not discriminate when it comes to the choice of materials. Apart from the usual oil on canvas, some of the gallery’s exhibitors work with recycled objects and others with photography.
“What is more important is the attitude. We want our artists to be serious about art” said Bayu with a smile.
Bayu encourages his artists to experiment with their ideas and materials. He also teaches them that they have to learn to accept criticism of their work.
“There are thousands of art school graduates in this country. If you do not make a name for yourself, you will be forgotten,” he said. “Not all of our artists succeed; that is to be expected. Some of our artists, after completing their residency, decide that they do not want to be an artist.”
Even so, A-RES is a highly competitive programme. The gallery receives plenty of applications and Bayu has to screen through each one and select those with the most potential based on their portfolio and a personal interview.
“The interview helps us to narrow down the artists which we feel are the most determined. We cannot guarantee that they will make it, but we give them the background, the exposure and the guidance. At the end of the day, it is up to them.”