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UEM Sunrise hosts exhibition documenting Malaysia’s response to Covid-19


MOH personnel fully equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) suits to survey migrants and citizens around the Pudu area on the Conditional Movement Control Order to curb the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak. Photo by Hazreen Mohamad.

16 June, KUALA LUMPUR – Publika Shopping Gallery is currently holding a photography exhibition chronicling the early days of the Movement Control Order to curb the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

The exhibition titled ‘Bridging the Distance: Making us Stronger’ held from 13-30 June showcases the extent of the impact of the MCO and Covid-19 to human lives and their livelihoods and the communities reeling from the aftershocks of prolonged containment. It features a total of 900 images by 75 photographers.

This will be the first exhibition in the country to involve the new norm of conducting a presentation of works of art, with social distancing measures put in place around the exhibits.

“As the developer of Malaysia’s premier creative retail mall Publika, we wanted to present and document the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia especially during the Movement Control Order when the country was in near lockdown while the authorities, frontliners and media risked their lives,” said UEM Sunrise Berhad Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib.

“While the pandemic itself was undeniably destructive, the MCO will have lasting effects on many of us in various aspects. Despite that, we can see that the spirit of making do and rising to the challenge, demonstrating the underlying strength and resilience of the people.

According to Fergana Art founder Jaafar Ismail, “The key imperative of this project is of chronicling visual and textual narratives which aggregates into forming part of the History of Malaysia. Covid-19 is a global viral pandemic in the same class as the Spanish Flu in 1918; hence it is an occurrence that calls for documentation. We chose photojournalism – visual and textual – as the window to chronicle the phenomena since it is widely regarded as the first draft of history.”

“The idea of this exhibition is intuitive – as the role of artists and curators is of observing, recording, provoking and invoking issues around life and environment. Photojournalists and writers are logical and natural observers and recorders – being given full and unfettered media access to newsworthy events despite the MCO,” he added.

Fergana Art collaborated with The Biddy’s, a collective of photojournalists and writers – and as their tradecraft is news gathering, timely responses are natural and crucial when documenting the situation.

“As the documentation project goes into a 24-month phase – we will consider open calls to artists and others who work with different mediums. We envisage a nationwide tour of discrete versions of the exhibition – The end objective is to publish a book about this project — a testimony of Covid-19, and how a global pandemic catalysed the nation as a whole,” Jaafar explained.

UEM Sunrise previously contributed personal protective equipment (PPE) and facemasks for healthcare frontliners as well as essential items and groceries to families affected by the Extended Movement Control Order. Together with its collaborative partners, Melati Ehsan Group and Pelaburan Hartanah Berhad, the Company also funded Hospital Kuala Lumpur in their purchase of a ventilator machine.

Recently, it also embarked on a corporate social responsibility effort together with local social enterprise to distribute treats and goodies to the frontliners in Kuala Lumpur and Iskandar Puteri, Johor in conjunction with the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations.


Event: Bridging the Distance: Making us Stronger photography exhibition

Date: 13-30 June 2020

Time: 10am to 10pm

Venue: The Gallery, Publika


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