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A Guide To The Best Events In Malaysia This Autumn
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A Guide To The Best Events In Malaysia This Autumn

Picture of Ellen Von Weigand
Updated: 9 February 2017
The cosmopolitan and culturally diverse country of Malaysia is at once forward-thinking and intent on preserving its lasting traditions. From art fairs showcasing the best of local contemporary artists, to food festivals offering the ultimate in gourmet Malay dining, and longstanding traditional celebrations, Malaysia, with Kuala Lumpur at its heart, is a hub of cultural activity in Autumn and Winter 2013.

1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism Festival

Headed by the Ministry of Tourism, the goal of 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism Festival is to further Malaysia’s growing status as a tourist destination and to introduce foreign visitors to its contemporary artists. The festival runs from July to September as a collaboration of galleries, museums, state governments, embassies, educational institutions, NGOs and private sector companies. Highlights include exhibitions of established artists as well as new names, auctions and art fairs, all taking place in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. The main events are held in shopping malls around the city, and the 1MCAT Art Tour Shuttle allows easy transportation between venues.

The KL International Jazz Festival

As a premier Jazz event within Malaysia and abroad, the KL International Jazz Festival invites acclaimed international talent to come and play alongside the most skilled local musicians, demonstrating UNESCO’s declaration of Jazz as an ‘instrument of world peace, cooperation, and international culture’. The Festival is organized by KL International Jazz and supported by Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) and Malaysia Airlines.

The Malaysian Youth Music Festival

The Malaysian Youth Music Festival has been held annually by the Malaysian Youth Orchestra Foundation since 1997. Although the foundation organizes many smaller musical events throughout the year, the youth festival is the largest in its calendar. The festival furthers the goal of the foundation to promote positive musical activities and to raise the standard of achievement amongst musical students by holding workshops and performances by experts in conjunction with its student competition. Performance categories include instrumental and vocal solo acts from beginner to post diploma levels, ensemble performances, and choir groups.

Learn more about the Malaysian Youth Music Festival

1Malaysian Lantern Tourism Festival
© Martin Chen | Flickr

1Malaysian Lantern Tourism Festival

The Lantern Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival, or the Mid-Autumn Festival, is a Chinese holiday celebrating the end of harvest season. While families hold private holiday celebrations in their homes with get-togethers, prayers, the consumption of moon cakes, and the creation of lanterns, the festival also pours out into the streets of the central market in Kuala Lumpur with the 1Malaysian Lantern Tourism Festival. Events include the lighting of the largest lantern, which is typically accompanied by musical performances and fireworks, and the floral lantern making competition, where elaborate lantern designs are awarded generous prizes.

Art Expo Malaysia

The annual Art Expo Malaysia is South-east Asia’s longest, consistently running artfair. To fund the first event, founder Vincent Sim Tiak Choo mortgaged two properties and sold parts of his immense, 40 year art collection while the market for Chinese art was reaching new heights. The festival has since grown in audience, quality of artworks and level of awarded publicity, and is helping the city of Kuala Lumpur gain a reputation as an arts destination. Art Expo refutes the extravagance of other international art fairs, and instead focuses its attention on the art itself. Some highlights of the expo include a tribute pavilion to living legend artists, charity causes helping autistic artists create and show work and the exhibition of the work of top foreign artists.

1001 Malaysian Artists and Sculptors

1001 Malaysian Artists and Sculptors celebrates the creative accomplishments of exclusively Malaysian artists, and is the charity exhibition with the largest number of participating artists in the country. The event is organised by ArtMalaysia, an interactive platform promoting the work of local artists and their diverse contributions to Malaysia’s cultural sphere. Selections for the exhibition are made through artwork submissions, and each artist is allowed to show only one piece of work, which must be made no more than one year prior to the event. The exhibition will be held at Viva Home Shopping Mall in Kuala Lumpur.

The Malaysian International Gourmet Festival

The Malaysian International Gourmet Festival is one of Kuala Lumpur’s most anticipated culinary events. Responding to the need to rejuvenate the industry, the event was initiated in 2001 with the goal of making the fine dining experience more accessible to a larger group of people. The festival also acts as a unique marketing opportunity for the array of world class chefs working within Malaysia, and thus chef participation is limited to those living within the country.

Film | The Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival

The Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival began in 2008, and is the largest eco film festival in Malaysia, organised and run by non-profit environmental organisation, EcoKnights. Offering film screenings, workshops, craft activities for children, performances, exhibitions and fairground attractions, the festival serves to encourage people to create a more sustainable way of living. The festival also shows a series of feature films, animation films, short films and PSAs.

Kuala Lumpur Photography Festival

Kuala Lumpur’s Photography Festival is Malaysia’s largest photo and travel event. Open submissions allow photographers to submit work depicting people, nature, the built environment, or any abstract or artistic subject that celebrates the earth. Exhibitions are complemented by photographer led seminars on thinking like a photographer and the future of the industry. Those in attendance typically include leading photographers, travel operators and organisations and others in the photo imaging profession.

George Town Literary Festival
© Al Ibrahim | Flickr

George Town Literary Festival

As a key event in the cultural calendar of George Town, Penang, the George Town Literary Festival dedicates three days to international poetry, prose and spoken word. This state sponsored arts festival is a fairly new George Town event and aims to grow through the continued support of its participants. A selection of highly esteemed writers are invited to lead the workshops, readings, panel discussions, forums, book launches, signings and more.