Izah Azahari

Two years after facing the pandemic head-on in the Sultanate and successfully managing every wave that has hit the country, people are starting over as they refuse to let COVID-19 hamper their daily lives.

After practicing standard operating procedures (SOPs) since the start of the first wave, the population is now used to health guidelines as they seek to move on with their lives.

The creative industry is no different. Individuals keep trying to make a name for themselves.

In the music industry, local singers were recognized and honored at the coveted Pelangi Awards in June. Local artist Putri Norizah received an exclusive award in recognition of her contribution to the business both locally and internationally.

Faizul Razali won the Chosen Male Vocal Award; Eia won the chosen female award; and Asmai, Waz, Swanz and Aziz Harun won the Chosen Duo/Group Vocal Award.

Meanwhile, Rizal Rasid received the New Artist Award; while Khilaf, composed by Faizul Razali and Fadil A Band Once, won the chosen song award. Satu, composed by Juan Madial and performed by Habib Adanan, won the Chosen Inspirational Song Award; and Perbatasan, produced by The Content Fuel and directed by Nazmo and Hanif Iqbal, won the Chosen Music Video Award.

Local artists performing at the recent Pelangi Awards. PHOTO: IZAH AZAHARI
Children from SMARTER Brunei paint the wall under the watchful eye of the Sketchone Studio team. PHOTOS: JAMES KON & IZAH AZAHARI
Deputy Permanent Secretary (Culture) at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Dr Siti Norkhalbi binti Haji Wahsalfelah presents the exclusive award to Putri Norizah

Held every two years and organized by Radio Television Brunei (RTB), the Pelangi Awards serve as an extension of appreciation for local artists active in the musical arts, including singing and song-making.

He hopes to encourage local talents to produce more high-quality works and improve the local entertainment arena.

On the international stage, Brunei artist Dila Junaidi and her band, The Stars, took part in the 2021 Round of the ASEAN-Korea Music Festival in January, where she performed five songs.

Featuring 15 Korean and nine ASEAN musicians, the six-hour online festival was organized by public broadcaster KBS and sponsored by the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ASEAN-Korea Cooperation Fund (AKCF) and the ASEAN secretariat.

AKCF hoped that the 2021 Round would strengthen the cultural bond and support between ASEAN and Korea through music, while providing the young generation from various countries with the opportunity to communicate through music and promote the formation of an active pop music network linking countries.

In film and cinematography, Mahakarya Institute of the Arts Asia (MIAA) actively cultivates local talent and skills, including through collaborations with Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) and Kolej International Graduate Studies (KIGS ) in its most recent Brunei Islamic Film Festival (BIFF) in March.

Entitled “Islamic Film Genre: Issues, Possibilities and Implications for the Brunei Screen Industry”, MIAA presented the Sultanate Film Festival dedicated to Islamic content as part of the annual Brunei Film Blitz.

The festival kicked off with a symposium allowing participants to explore the concept of film genre and what it means to have a Bruneian Islamic screen identity, with the aim of opening a roadmap for scholarly inquiry into the identity of Bruneian Islamic screen.

The symposium ended with a filmmaking workshop where participants applied what was discussed at the symposium and put it into practice.

During the workshop, participants were given various filmmaking exercises such as ideation, cinematography, sound recording and editing.

Mentorships were available for participants over the next two weeks as they produced their Islamic short films, which were screened in late March.

The BIFF Awards Night screening saw Q Fikri’s Langkah win the Islamic Short Film award, while Muhammad Haziq Aniq bin Hanip’s Hati-Hati Dengan Mata received the Jury Prize.

With BIFF, it was discovered that there were still many stories to be told as mentors explored ideas with participants who offered different perspectives and chose to tell stories in their own way as various genres were incorporated. in Brunei Islamic content.

The shortlisted films explored various Islamic themes including love, conversion to Islam, mental health, life struggles and daily Islamic practices.

The event aimed to encourage Islamic cinema in the Sultanate to provide a starting point for future academic studies.

Meanwhile, Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) has encouraged, fostered and cultivated the various art forms through its annual Spectrum event, which provides an opportunity to showcase the individual and collective skills gathered over the four years of students study at UBD while serving as a means for them to express themselves through their disciplines.

Fifty-three final year students from UBD’s Design and Creative Industries (DCI) program unveiled their graduation exhibition “Spectrum 2022: Infinite” following the motto “Exploring the Unbounded Depth of Creativity” for the Spectrum of this year, delving beyond the limitation of artistic ideals in a contemporary way through their creative projects.

Works featured fine art, media arts and design, installations, media production to publication, product design, conceptual architecture and interior design, and fashion design .

The exhibition was open to the public from May 23 to June 23 and also featured gallery talks which saw six to seven students share their creative and artistic practices as well as the process of creating the works on display.

Although there has been no significant fashion movement since the start of the pandemic, as travel restrictions have prevented local fashion designers from traveling to showcase their designs, discussions of sustainability of the fashion industry are actively conducted with fashion designers from Brunei. , Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

One such talk was held virtually as part of the 3rd Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Budayaw Festival in December 2021 on the impact of COVID-19 on the industry. of fashion.

Fadzil Hadin of Dubai-based Chantique Brunei, Indonesian fashion designer Emmy Thee known for showcasing sustainable fashion, Emi Eglis representing the Philippines known for her use of traditional fashion in modern design and owner Anna Sue Couture, Dr. Sharifah Shukran, better known as Anna Sue in the fashion world, attended the event.

The dialogue sessions featured discussions on how COVID-19 has affected the fashion industry, particularly the cancellation of fashion shows.

Designers said the pandemic has pushed them to be more creative, adapt to the new normal using technology and hold virtual fashion shows.

Designers were also pushed to think outside the box by collaborating with other creatives such as photographers and videographers.

Fashion designers agreed that COVID-19 has brought people in the industry closer together and better prepared them to tackle challenges together.

The event also showcased the designers’ collections via a fashion short film.

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