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Top 10 free happenings in Johor as part of Iskarnival Naratif!

ISKARNIVAL is on a rampage! Barely a month after Kreatif kicked off celebrations at Mall of Medini, the next edition of Johor’s one-of-a-kind arts festival is back to bring Malaysian storytellers to Nusajaya. This weekend, prepare for Naratif, a two-day program dedicated to storytelling of the ASEAN region.

Naratif’s programming is just as comprehensive and insane as Kreatif’s but the focus on storytelling is an added bonus: watch plays, enjoy live comedy, participate in comic-writing workshops a whole lot of other events for free.

For your benefit, we’ve compiled a list of ten things we wouldn’t want to miss at Mall of Medini for this month’s Iskarnival. While you go through this, know that the Iskarnival team has already started planning for their biggest, baddest blowout next month: Sama Sama is happening 12-13 November and it will mark an end to this year’s celebrations!

10. Strips of Malaysian Life: Azwan Ajjai (forum discussion)

When The Daily Seni came across Komik Ronyok on Instagram, we felt the need to spread the word. A day after featuring the comics on our pages and social media, Mohd Zainorazwan Bin Zainal, or more commonly known on the net as Azwan Ajjai, experienced a surge in his following while his works spread like wildfire on the internet.


Today, Ajjai has his first publication out under local publisher Maple Comic! At Iskarnival for the very first time, he will be leading this discussion on visual storytelling for social media with lecturer and founder of Sorok Kitab, Ahmad Amirulhafiz.

9. Artificially Intelligent: Improvholics Anonymous (improv comedy)

We learned about these guys from the Crackhouse Comedy Club and became huge fans. It’s impossible to imagine Malaysian comedy without them; years on and they’re still giving people stitches (the good kind).


Comprising some of local stage’s brightest young talents — Abdul Qahar Aqilah, Amelia Chen, Ashraf Zain, Farah Rani, Iedil Putra, Shamaine Othman and Tung Jit Yang — this troupe plays a number of games with audience members in order to reenact some truly Malaysian moments. You’ll be laughing out of your seats in this one, fellas!

8. Instant Reporter: Just add the Internet! (newswriting workshop)

When your world moves at a gazillion bytes a second, it’s impossible to catch up. But the flipside? There’s now opportunity for just anyone to pick up the slack and get into disseminating information. Featuring writer cum playwright Ariff Kamil and The Daily Seni editor Deric Ect, this two-hour session in writing for an online audience brings participants through two very uniquely Malaysian news desks. Come along and learn how to write and even start your own credible publication at zero cost! At the very least, join both of them to reflect on how media has transformed over the years and brainstorm together for more effective methods to share information.

7. POET VS WILD (music showcase)

Sisiseni first drummed up this special peformance series to celebrate friendship, poetry and music. Now in its fourth installment, Poet vs Wild closes on a rather classical note as sounds of the nusantara are revisited through two very special bands: Terang Bulan and Orkes Marhain.


But its never straightforward with these guys: joining both bands are award-winning musician Amir Jahari and performer Wani Abu while hosting both nights are Gazali Ramli and Cech Adrea. Check out the final installation of POET VS WILD this year exclusively at Naratif!

6. Mak Yong (mak yong)

While those in Kuala Lumpur have been privileged to be exposed to experience traditional Malay arts on the regular thanks to such important entities as ASWARA, PUSAKA and arts educators Joseph Gonzales and Zamzuriah Zahari, the rest of Malaysia don’t often get the opportunity. Naratif’s commitment to storytelling shines through its heavy inclusion of PUSAKA in its latest program. Bringing over the traditional Malay dance-drama form among many others, these heritage guardians has a line-up of other tantalising heritage delicacies on offer during both days.

5. Let’s Prototype on Paper! (prototyping workshop)

Got a knack for design in addition to storytelling? Want to see some of your best ideas come to life? Join award-winning techie and designer Timothy Su as he reinforces the creative process with app-based manipulation.


Tim’s first involvement in startups was 12 years ago, brought on as the third employee to take care of design and marketing aspects of a small-time software idea. It later became a game changer in its segment and sold for an undisclosed amount upwards of $5mil. Get your smartphones out and ready for this one folks, you’ll want to take notes.

4. The Visual Series Of Malay Proverbs by Hyrul Anuar (exhibition)

Hyrul Anuar has become a sort of a role model and a champion for aspiring local artists and designers. Best known for his mobile phone painting project where he translated various Malay proverbs visually, he’s now one of Samsung Galaxy Note 3‘s favourite users. Hyrul used the phone to come up with his acclaimed series which has gone viral and continues to make its rounds around the world while spreading one of Malaysia’s many unique treasures. But if you need more information on his work, check out our previous coverage!

3. Pasang (devised play)

Visual designer and theatre-maker Azzad Mahdzir debuted Pasang at Art For Grabs last month. Originally commissioned by Sisters In Islam for a forum titled Keluargaku Moden, Pasang is a devised short play which follows a Muslim couple from their courtship to the moment one of them files for divorce.


What will come of them through the process? How will their faith come in between their relationship decisions? Find out, then stay behind for a short question and answer session with the team after the show!

2. Peperangan Bintang (wayang kulit)

Having gained a cult following from appearances around the world over the past several years, Peperangan Bintang is the wayang kulitified epic space opera Star Wars: A New Hope. It all began as an attempt to revive interest in wayang kulit given how the discipline faded with the dawn of the new millennium.

After receiving blessings from the Lucasfilm president and the Official Star Wars Malaysian Fan Club, Fusion Wayang Kulit developed an adaptation of the film. Also on their side? Pak Dain, the thirteenth accredited Tok Dalang in traditional Kelantanese wayang kulit.

1. Pangrok Sulap (woodcut workshop)

When we dropped by Sabah earlier this year, we came across Pangrok Sulap, an art activist collective who does some outstanding woodcut prints. Their works have been featured in publications around the world and they even have fans in Japan!


But one glance at their work and they way they carry themselves, it’s easy to see why. Pangrok Sulap makes some gorgeous woodcut prints in their fight for Sabah’s dignity and heritage. Thanks to Naratif, you can now learn how to make your own from the amiable rockstars themselves in this public lesson!

For event times and dates, make sure to check out the official program on Iskarnival’s official website! Also follow Iskarnival on Facebook for updates and ways to get your hands on official goodies! All images sourced from Facebook, featured image from Komik Ronyok!

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