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‘Pentas Seni Merdeka’ Aims To Kickstart Downtown KL As A Creative And Cultural District

‘Pentas Seni Merdeka’ Aims To Kickstart Downtown KL As A Creative And Cultural District

Pentas Seni Merdeka at Jalan Raja will feature different traditional art forms and experiences monthly for free.

Adeline Leong

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Downtown Kuala Lumpur was once a thriving and vibrant city centre but has been on the decline and stagnated due to the rapid growth of Kuala Lumpur as the nation’s capital.

Over the last decade, efforts have been made by the government and private sectors to inject life and unearth the city’s hidden gems.

Things are slowly changing thanks to various infrastructure and connectivity projects such as the River of Life, Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and more.

The Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has also collaborated with Think City to support the renewal and regeneration of Downtown KL.

Pentas Seni Merdeka at Jalan Raja. Image: DBKL & Think City

The latest project to spur interest in the area is the launch of Pentas Seni Merdeka on 16 July. It’s a free monthly public art initiative aimed at increasing social equity through public space activation.

In the long term, it’s hoped that Pentas Seni Merdeka will kickstart and further poise Downtown KL as a creative and cultural district.

Pentas Seni Merdeka will be held along Jalan Raja against the backdrop of Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samas, Panggung Bandaraya and Bangunan Mahkamah Tinggi.

A Ronggeng Melayu performance on Pentas Seni Merdeka. Image: DBKL & Think City

This month’s performance featured the Ronggeng Melayu dance and art form which was also workshopped and curated by Nusantara Performing Arts Research Center (NusPARC).

Guests were also treated to performances by the DBKL Combo & Cultural Artists, took part in terrarium-making workshops and enjoyed food from food trucks.

Yang Berhormat Datuk Seri Haji Jalaluddin bin Haji Alias, Deputy Minister of Federal Territories and Yang Berbahagia Datuk Seri TPr Haji Mahadi Che Ngah, the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur with other dignitaries at the Pentas Seni Merdeka. Image: DBKL & Think City

Managing director of Think City, Hamdan Abdul Majeed, said great public spaces are the foundation of great communities, which in turn are the building blocks of a prosperous, equitable and resilient society.

They’re a place where people meet and socialise. Part of making magnetic public spaces is through the integration of creative and cultural content. Studies show that investments in such content can improve street safety, provide tourism and jobs, and more. And I believe these basic factors will continue to become far more important as we progress as a nation.

Managing director of Think City, Hamdan Abdul Majeed

He added that Think City aims to establish and maintain a public art platform within the pockets of Downtown KL and reposition the area as an iconic attraction with a focus on culture, arts, heritage, creativity, and innovation, through Pentas Seni Merdeka.

The Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, Datuk Seri Tpr Haji Mahadi Che Ngah, said creative and cultural activities and infrastructures do not only bring people together but also spark partnership and dialogue, fuels local economies and encourage the transformation of a city.

Hence, DBKL is actively reactivating Kuala Lumpur with key partners like Think City in one of their many efforts like Pentas Seni Merdeka post pandemic and hopes to see more collaborative efforts implemented to make our public spaces welcoming to and representative of Malaysians of all backgrounds.

The Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, Datuk Seri Tpr Haji Mahadi Che Ngah

When is the next show?

A Ronggeng Melayu performance on Pentas Seni Merdeka. Image: DBKL & Think City

The next editions of Pentas Seni Merdeka will be held on every second Saturday of the month at Jalan Raja.

The second edition is slated to be held on 10 September, followed by subsequent editions on 8 October, 12 November and 10 December.

Each edition will feature different traditional art forms and experiences for all visitors.

How else can you support our arts and culture scene?

A Ronggeng Melayu performance on Pentas Seni Merdeka. Image: DBKL & Think City

To support the vision of Downtown KL as a cultural and creative district, Think City launched the Downtown Kuala Lumpur Grants Programme in 2021.

The grant aims to empower and improve the quality of life for various communities, develop new experiences in the city centre through innovative content, and transform and revitalise spaces with creative solutions.

The call for applications for the second round of the programme for 2022 is on 19 July 2022.

To learn more about the Downtown Kuala Lumpur Grants Programme, visit Think City’s website.

For more information, visit Think City’s official website or use the hashtag #mythinkcity on social media.


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