Their works as good as those abroad: Masidi
The public must discard their perception that works by local artists are inferior to their counterparts in other countries. Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said works produced by local artists are impressive and have been underestimated by the public. “I have visited many top galleries in the world and have come to the conclusion that our artists’ works are as good as, if not better than, what were exhibited in these galleries,” he said. Masidi also pointed out that locals are willing to pay huge sums for foreign works but find it difficult to fork out RM500 for a piece of artwork produced by a local artist. “What our local artists are charging is actually value for money because a painting takes time to finish, so it is very important that we start changing our mindset not only about painting but also other aspects of art,” he said when officiating the opening ceremony of the Mayuri House Local artists do not get recognition because the public do not value and appreciate their work, he said. “We have good products now and we need to find ways to ensure they are marketable and this is what I would like Mayuri to consider,” he said. According to Masidi, Mayuri has taken the first step in showcasing the talent of local artists and should in future look at ways to help the local artists market their work. He also would like to see more companies in Sabah take the initiative to look at the potential of Sabah’s culture from angles other than the dances and costumes being widely promoted now. Speaking to reporters later, Masidi said the State Government is ready to asist local artists who want to showcase their works. “We can provide those interested with the exhibition venue and help them with promotion. I don’t mind any request from interested artists in terms of providing the venue and subsidising the cost of putting up an exhibition,” he said. Masidi said the Government should take the initiative to help the locals, citing Taiwan where the artists are very successful because its Government has taken the initiative of doing the marketing of their products. “I think this is the same for Sabah. The State Government needs to come up with some initiative to help with the marketing of local products. Only then I think the artists will be able to stand on their own two feet. “There is also a need to expand our assistance network to other sectors connected to art and culture,” he said. For promotion of local artwork, Masidi said the weekly Sunday Gaya Street market is an important venue to sell the local products. He was impressed to find out that local artists have sold many paintings at the market and said it was a good way to expose the local talents to the outside world. The prices for the local artwork were also very good, he said, adding that his Ministry will try to give the local artists as much exposure as possible.