MoU paves way for exhibition on Malay world in France

New Straits Times - - News -

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.

PIC BY SAIRIEN NAFIS

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.

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