Need funding to push the local arts abroad? You might be in luck.

The recently announced collaboration between the Cultural Economy Development Agency (Cendana) and the Malaysia Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) promises positive changes in the way the homegrown creative industry is developed and exported worldwide.

The first order of business the media conference held at Akademi Seni Budaya Dan Warisan Kebangsaan (Aswara) in KL on April 12 was to introduce Cendana’s newly-announced Mobility Funding Programme (MFP) as well as to highlight Matrade’s export-promotion funding programmes such as Market Development Grand (MDG) and Services Export Fund (SEF).

“In Malaysia, many artists may not have the necessary tools to respond to opportunities extended to them. So, today is a great step forward where not only do we as Cendana play a role in enabling our artists, but we are able to synergise these efforts with government agencies like Matrade to benefit a wider arts and culture community,” says Izan Satrina Datuk Mohd Sallehudin, the founding CEO of Cendana.

“The Mobility Funding Programme looks at small to mid-scale touring work from performing arts, visual arts and independent music, focusing on local and international platforms that improve access to high-quality Malaysian art.”

Dr Mohd Shahreen Zainooreen Madros, the CEO of Matrade, says that the collaboration between Matrade and Cendana is important since it will enable both agencies to “bring whatever assets and skills we have to the right target market”.

“Matrade has always supported the development of the local arts industry internationally. It has been actively involved in promoting Malaysian arts in major cities like London, Melbourne, Shanghai and Miami,” he says.

At present, Matrade has 46 offices worldwide. In the last five years, Malaysia has exported RM14.6mil worth of visual arts to markets in Switzerland, Britain, Hong Kong, United States and UAE.

On the subject of MFP, Izan mentions that the fund will be used to support Malaysian artists at international arts and culture festivals, art exhibitions, trade fairs, conferences and more.

The applications are subjected to a set criteria. Broadly, the MFP  supports return air transfers and covers cargo freight of touring equipment up to RM30,000 per application.

Also present at the media event were the seven delegates – Rhythm In Bronze, Orang Orang Drum Theatre, Ombak Ombak Art Studio, Pneumanarch Production, Pentas Project Theatre, Terryand­The­Cuz and theatre practitioner Fasyali Fadzly – who travelled to the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM) in Brisbane in February. The trip was funded by Cendana.

“I hope such initiatives will be consistent and long-standing, so that we can see the positive impact it will have on the art scene. The practitioners really don’t want this to be a one-off thing. There needs to be consistency,” says Fasyali.

Application for the MFP opens on April 25. More info: www.cendana.com.my.