ON THE 24th JUNE 2018, BOH Plantations and Kakiseni announced the recipients of the 15th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards (15BCAA) (or The Cammies) at Hilton Kuala Lumpur, including the prestigious Best of 2017 and the Category Awards for artistic excellence. A localized adaptation of a popular dystopia, a mystical dance piece and a musical based on the Peanuts cartoon won the Best of 2017 categories.
The award show itself was a festive celebration of practitioners, with the “City of Creation“ of theme brought to life by Awards Director, Christopher Ling (who is also from the theatre collective, theatrethreesixty).
“Transitions are painful because they destroy the status quo, pushing us beyond our comfort zones. There are no limits to an individual’s creativity. Everything we need for that solitary act of creation is already within our reach”. – Christopher Ling, Creative Director of 15BCAA
The City of Creation concept, inspired by Pablo Picasso’s quote “Every act of creation is, first of all, an act of destruction”, is manifested through a building facade constructed as a multi-tiered stage where performers, musicians and the master of ceremony reside in as the awards were given out.
Host, Dominic Lucien Luk (co-founder of Monday Show Entertainment), welcomed the audience by giving a rough overview of the current state of Malaysian theatre, which has grown tremendously over the past 15 years. However, he was (smoothly) interrupted by a musical ensemble, budget Tony’s introduction style, which was packed with whimsical warmth. Composed by Nick Choo and choreographed by Kenny Shim, the ensemble performance of (an) original song, The Cammies is made better with wonderful backing musicians and injected with a lot of wit by lyricist (wit injected by the lyricist), Terrence Toh.
This year’s award night momentum felt punchier and snappier, with the awards presented by prominent individuals from the community and this year’s gamechangers, Aida Redza, Sharu Delilkan and Raz Azraai. Everything went smoothly except for minor snag by Joe Sidek, head of George Town Festival, who made a mistake in announcing the winners for Best Leading Actress due to the cards being switched, Warren Beaty-style. As though a testimony to our arts community, it was taken with good humour with some of the crowd even cheering on Joe Sidek; ensuring him that it was okay.
The night was made more joyous with esteemed guests such as Dato’ Faridah Merican, Alena Murang, Sharifah Amani, Brian Chan, Alif Star and more!
THAT’S A WRAP! 🎉♥️💯
— The Daily Seni (@thedailyseni) June 24, 2018
Cities of Creation
This year, the theme of the Awards, “City of Creation” focuses on the relationship between the practitioners of the art and their relationship with cities and communities; a tribute to the growling metropolis of creators and their communities. “Join us as we pay tribute to the Malaysian performing arts scene through the fresh eyes of emerging artists as they journey from the solitary act of creating to embracing the sprawling community of creators that, ultimately, establish the City of creation together”, said Awards Director, Christopher Ling.
All of this is present from the theme of the awards show, the selection of gamechangers, and the social media engagement by Kakiseni.
The BOH Cameronian Arts Awards is endorsed by The National Department for Culture and Arts (JKKN) under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, and supported by BOH Plantations, PwC and Capri Communications.
Low Ngai Yuen stresses the important role that children play in the City of Creation, “Creative expression is a right not a luxury, and all Malaysian children must have the space and the chance to exercise that right, especially at school. Beginning this year, we aim to kickstart initiatives such as accrediting arts-based programmes offered by local schools as well as introducing artist-teachers into schools to work with students on projects that are meaningful to them and their communities”.
The nominees this year, as it is with every year of the Cammies, hail from different backgrounds – from big blockbuster productions to theatre of a more humble scale. Temple of Fine Arts’s Inner Space Dance Conversations team dominated the most (most of the) categories for (with) Kathak and Contemporary & Odissi. Some of the categories won by them include Best Music & Sound Design, Best Lighting Design, and Best Costume Design/Styling & Makeup. Their success in the awards show proves that there is still a place for stories told through traditional medium and aesthetics, especially since Inner Space Dance Conversations: Kathak was chosen as one of the overall Best of 2017.
The Best of 2017 awards went to three productions. First is Kandang, directed by Omar Ali who also received an award for Best Director in the Theatre Category. Ashraf Zain also bagged the award for best actor in a leading role and his performance in Kandang was truly one of the most memorable performance to us last year. Kandang’s win seems to hold up a torch of symbolism for a New Malaysia that will hopefully heed the warnings of this George Orwell adaptation.
Kandang wasn’t the only nominee in the Best of 2017 that was based upon the works of English writers. The Pillowman, originally written by Martin McDonagh, was one of our favourite nominees but understandably fell slightly short to other works with bigger production sets and more localized storytelling.
Another winner of Best of 2017 is You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown – in our opinion, the most wholesome and fun nominee on the list. You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown shows that there is a place for good, clean, fun stories when done right – and that ‘quality’ is not necessarily equivalent to ‘edgy-ness’ or ‘unorthodoxy’.
The producers of the Best of 2017 shows will be entitled to exclusive support from Kakiseni including the chance to attend the Performing Arts Market in Seoul (PAMS) – their airfare and entry fee sponsored by BOH Plantations.
According to Low Ngai Yuen, President of Kakiseni, “Kakiseni pledges to support the Recipients of the Best of Awards by creating opportunities with corporate sponsors or to expand their horizons by helping them attend international art events.”
Voted for by independent panels of Executive and Category Judges, these Recipients have gotten the vote of confidence by veteran practitioners as being performing arts productions of the highest caliber by international standards.
“Over this last decade and a half, it has been wonderful to see the combined efforts of the entire performing arts community, from the team at Kakiseni and industry leaders, to creators, artists as well as everyone who has played a key role behind-the-scenes; all united with a common aspiration – to elevate the performing arts in Malaysia. Indeed BOH is heartened that we were given the opportunity by Kakiseni 15 years ago to be a part of this journey,” said Caroline Russell, Deputy Chairman and CEO of BOH Plantations.
The full list of Best of nominees and category awards can be found here:
Full broadcast of the awards night can be found here:
Featured image includes the Best of 2017 winners, Kandang, Kathak, & You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown with Caroline Russell and Low Ngai Yuen. (Credit: Luqman Azizi)