The rapid development enjoyed by the country should be balanced and move in tandem with meeting spiritual needs through arts and culture appreciation.
Prime Minister Najib Razak said this was because through works of art, love and pride for the country could be implanted in the souls of the people.
“If we want to develop the country, it does not only involve building skyscrapers, industrial plants and highways but more important is the quality of its people which comes from their hearts and souls.
“If can, our souls should not just be filled with spirituality and morals but also with love for the country, as this is the foundation of excellence for our country, Malaysia,” he said when opening the “Negaraku” (My Country) Arts Exhibition at the National Art Gallery, in Kuala Lumpur, today.
Also present were Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak, Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz and Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid.
Najib said the Seni Negaraku Exhibition and love-thy-country programme which also featured the works of primary, secondary and arts school students could be a medium to producing more works based on love for the country, besides promoting appreciation for arts among the young.
He said the close cooperation between the Tourism and Culture Ministry and the Education Ministry could also help produce students with the “Negaraku” spirit.
“It is my big hope that today’s young generation will also be arts practitioners who can bring glory to the country at the international level.
“Hopefully, this arts platform provided will be made good use of to empower and sustain development of the arts in our country,” he said.
The prime minister said the role of arts in a people’s civilisation was important and used as historical records since ancient times.
Najib also noted that the British colonial residents like (Sir) Frank Swettenham and (Sir) Hugh Low in the then Malaya had made drawings on paper of the landscapes of areas they visited in Perak and Pahang.
At the event, Najib also presented prizes to nine winners selected from among five million students nationwide in the “Seni Negaraku” competition where their winning artworks will be displayed at the National Art Gallery.
The show at the gallery comprises the Seni Negaraku Exhibition, featuring 88 artworks by 72 artists and from public and private collections, and Reka Negaraku Exhibition, displaying 36 artefacts and 53 prints on items of daily use such as the matchstick box and medicine labels.
Among the paintings exhibited are by renowned Malaysian artists like Abdul Latiff Mohidin, Ibrahim Hussein, Joseph Tan, Anthony Lau and Redza Piyadasa. – Bernama