The Marketplace of Creative Arts Festival (MOCAfest) is the place to be for anyone interested in the arts. It is an international festival hosted by WIEF to “empower the youth through the arts,” says Najmia, Project Manager of MOCAfest, “its objective is to merge business with the arts and to promote cross-cultural dialogue and collaboration.”
What makes it unique? Placing it alongside the WIEF (which is an annual business forum) makes it one of a kind. This unexpected pairing has “allowed for sharing and questioning between both artists and business delegates to address core gaps between the two worlds.”
Just wait, it gets cooler. They actually have a Soundscape Concert. Soundscape. Concert. This is one of the long-running highlights of the festival, and a favourite of Najmia’s. She shares her insider’s knowledge on how this eclectic and live performance comes together, “usually (the artists are) matched and put in touch one month before the festival, but it’s always left to the hour before the performance that they actually get together to jam, and most often, (preparation) does not end until the very last day of the festival. You can see artists jamming in the staff workroom to the corridors of the festival venue throughout the day. We have seen a few that have even landed jobs with one another post-festival. The organic process and sense of camaraderie is something I don’t often witness at festivals, where the only time audiences get to see the artist is during their set on stage.”
So what is there that can possibly top an awesome Soundscape Concert? Well, this year Najmia says she’s looking forward to the newest attraction: MOCAfest Souq. Guys, they have a souq! She describes it as, “an artisans-come-creative-entrepreneurs bazaar. Being hosted in Kuala Lumpur this year, we have partnered up with TempatanFest, a Malaysian festival, which brings together some of the freshest local brands and clothing. We’ve also got a lot of interesting crafts coming in from Morocco, Afghanistan, and the Philippines.”
Najmia is also looking forward to having eL Seed on board who will be coming to Kuala Lumpur for the very first time! She says, “thanks to collaborating with AQUILA Style, he will be interviewed in a face-to-face session on stage.”
So what else is going on at this awesome festival? “As usual we have workshops, masterclasses, panel discussions, visual arts exhibition, performances and film screening,” shares Najmia, “this year we will introduce new sessions such as the Sharing Circles which serves as a fish-bowl dialogue between both Forum delgates and artists to discuss topics around the creative economy, and Ideapad where artists and creative entrepreneurs can pitch on stage at the forum to investors and funders.”
Before the festival opens to the public, the action is kickstarted with MOCAfellows which is “an intensive pre-festival program that contributes to the professional development and sustainability of emerging, young talents,” states Najmia. “We have had amazing trainers and mentors who work closely with the Fellows such as Hassan Mahamdallie, a UK-based specialist in diversity and equality in the arts; Asil Attar, a fashion industry expert of 20 years; the late Giorgio Ungania, a specialist in creative and digital media; Peter Gould and Ruh Al-Alam, leading designers in Islamic branding, and many more.”
Through many of the mentorships secured and the MOCAfellows program, MOCAfest hopes to lay the foundation for artists to embark on a sustainable and ethical path in the creative industry.
I was hoping we could squeeze in some of our awesome readers to MOCAfellows, but Najmia has some bad news (followed by good news!) “the call for entry was announced on both WIEF and MOCAfest social media platforms and networks 3 months ago, and we received numerous applications worldwide. Only 10 have been selected to partake in the program which includes seminars, roundtables, collaborative and on-site works, cultural immersion, and a pitching/feedback session where 2 of the Fellows will stand a chance to win a slot to present at Idea Lab at the 11th WIEF.”
So you guys can’t enter this year, but Najmia wants to hear from you next year! She says, “to get involved in the future, do send in an inquiry with your artist portfolio to firstname.lastname@example.org and/or follow MOCAfest, WYN and WIEF on our social media platforms for annual announcements.”
We asked Najmia who would benefit from attending MOCAfest and she replied:
- Arts and Cultural leaders, entrepreneurs, and business delegates who are looking for creative content, designers, artists and new ideas. There are many opportunities to network as well as purchase artworks.
- Artists, students and art enthusiasts. The program includes many workshops and masterclass focused not only in skills building in a various art genres but also exposure to business and creative approaches to sustaining your craft. There is plenty of entertainment from international artists, so it’s a great opportunity to engage with and meet artists. The 3-day festival is open to all and free of charge.
- Families who are looking to enjoy entertainment from different parts of the world. This year’s Soundscape concert brings sounds of Mauritania, Morocco, Malaysia, and USA. The visual arts exhibition will also include many contemporary works which celebrates cultural identity and faith to the forefront from Italy, Azerbaijan, UK, and much more.
TLDR: For those of you who don’t have enough time to read all the things, Najmia has summed up MOCAfest in a sentence for you: “MOCAfest is a platform to showcase and celebrate the diversity of our Ummah, showcasing a bursting amount of creativity from Muslim artists to both Muslim and non-Muslim audiences in different parts of the world.”
When? 3-5 November 2015
Where? Kuala Lumper Convention Centre, Malaysia
About the Author:
Subhi has spent a bit of time on everything from design to PR management to psychology. She is also a sometime calligraphist and enjoys styling clothes and headscarves.