MoU paves way for exhibition on Malay world in France
KUALA LUMPUR: An exhibition on the Malay world will be held in France to expose the French to the culture of the Malays in Southeast Asia.
This comes following a twoyear memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Paris’s Guimet Museum of Asian Art (Musee national des arts asiatiques Guimet) and Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (IAMM) here yesterday.
It was witnessed by French President Francois Hollande after his 30-minute tour of IAMM.
IAMM Curatorial Affairs Department head Dr Heba Nayel Barakat said the MoU would pave the way to future collaborations on exhibitions and sharing of knowledge between both nations.
“It was an honour to have him (Hollande) here at the IAMM.
“The MoU will lead to more cooperation between Guimet and IAMM. We want to have an exhibition about the Malay world to highlight the art in every region (of Southeast Asia).
“For example, we can highlight songket and how it is made historically.
“The MoU will be an opportunity (for people of both countries) to see more of the culture (of the Malay world and France).”
She said the MoU would also lead to cooperation in human development.
“We will send some of our staff there to be trained, and we will receive some (of their staff ).
“Cooperation is crucial to us. We always want to go beyond Asia and would like to spread understanding of the culture of the Malay world.”
Heba said knowledge sharing would be two-way, where the French can also learn about the arts and culture in Malaysia.
“The partnership starts now, with the signing of the MoU. It takes about two years to develop an exhibition.
“You will see the fruits of this cooperation in two years. We will first work on a storyline to create a budget before carrying out the exhibitions.”
Hollande visited IAMM’s galleries on architecture, India, China, the Malay world and the Quran and its manuscripts.
Hollande and his delegation were later ushered to the ground floor for the MoU signing ceremony, as well as for the guestbook signing and momento presentation.
This is the second state visit by a French president to Malaysia. Former president Jacques Chirac made a state visit in July 2003. It was hailed as an important milestone for MalaysiaFrance bilateral relations.
The Guimet was the brainchild of Emile Guimet (1836-1918), a Lyons industrialist who devised the grand project of opening a museum devoted to the religions of Ancient Egypt, Classical Antiquity and Asia.
IAMM houses more than 10,000 artefacts, as well as a library of Islamic art books. The art on display ranges from the tiniest pieces of jewellery to one of the world’s largest scale models of Masjid al-Haram in Mecca.
The aim is to create a collection that is representative of the Islamic world. Instead of concentrating on works from the Middle East, IAMM also places emphasis on Asia.
French President Francois Hollande is accompanied by Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia Curatorial Affairs Department head Dr Heba Nayel Barakat (third from left) during his visit to the museum in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.