By Muhammad Nabil

It has only the halfway point of 2017, but plenty of changes have happened across the music and arts scene here in Malaysia, and in the center of it all, a massive revamp in the creation of the 14th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards.

This year’s iteration of the awards ceremony was held to recognise a higher standard of achievement by setting a new benchmark by increasing scrutiny in judging as well as scorings of entrants. Themed ‘Raising The Bar with Artistic Excellence,’ Caroline Russell, CEO of BOH Plantations states that the time is right for the performing arts to reach a new level of growth, with the entirety of the new campaign reflecting the awards’ refreshed focus and aspirations in order to elevate artistic standards and expression. One of the key reasons for such a change is to lend more credibility to the awards, challenging producers, artists and performers to dare to do different things, taking bold risks, and hopefully bring a meaningful, rippling change to the industry.

Apart from that, BOH and Kakiseni took the opportunity to allow potential investors and curators to acknowledge the significance of the awards, and from there, open doors and build partnerships that will allow artistes, old and new, to flourish and spread their creations in a more vast arena.

To this end, the Awards regards business leaders and investors to be “Champion Of The Arts,” recognising them for their ability to lift and develop performing artistes to greater heights. A “Best Of” list has been drawn up too, to recognise the most outstanding shows that were held in 2016. The shows that are honoured in the list were:

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  • Black & White @ Variation Rerun 2016
  • From Soho to Shinjuku. Half Man Half Myth
  • Into The Woods
  • Richard III
  • Shakespeare Goes Bollywood
  • The Language Archive

In a bid to show the possibilities when Malaysian artists are given opportunities to climb new heights, Kakiseni also launched the #Gamechangers social media campaign to highlight truly talented Malaysians who have made a mark here and also on the international level.

One of the gamechangers, Rendra Zawawi, attended the awards night. Rendra has built an extensive career in Los Angeles as a composer and a music producer, and is now currently working alongside Emmy-winning composer Mac Quayle, as his assistant.

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Personal thoughts? I think the implemented changes are a new step in a direction that BOH and Kakiseni should’ve taken a long time ago. Elevating the status of the awards to standards like Anugerah Juara Lagu Malaysia will only lend credence to the worthiness of the award, and it makes it that much more meaningful to be recognised for all the hard work the artistes have put in.

However, there are always two sides to a coin. Let’s just say – the investors need a bit of convincing in order to fund the artistes’ projects. They have to know that this will make a return in their investments, much more with turbulent economic conditions currently present here (Thanks N***b). But it’s not out of the realm of impossibility. Lots of big companies see the potential the arts industry has when it’s running in top gear, and with what BOH and Kakiseni has to offer, it won’t be long until we see the rise of new and upcoming talents taking the industry by storm.