A teh tarik stall at Art Expo Malaysia 2018? Yes, don’t rub your eyes.

When Sim Pojinn, Art Expo Malaysia co-founder and fair director, mentioned that this year edition’s of the art fair had some refreshing changes in store, he wasn’t kidding.

The ongoing art project by young Thai artist Thidarat Chantachua, showing her creative works in a form of performance art and tea-making, is one the curious highlights of the 12th edition of Art Expo Malaysia, currently on at the Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur till Oct 14.

Thidarat’s Bangkok Tea Project, presented by Subhashok Art Centre, engages with visitors, with the artist asking them to sit down, grab a cup of tea and reflect on the state of cultural integration and migration in this part of the world.

“This new exhibition space – The Art Room Project and Special Exhibitions Area (South-East Asia) – featuring special curatorial exhibits is bound to have more people talking about art coming from the region,” says Sim.

Thidarat’s Bangkok Tea Project invites visitors to sit down, grab a cup of tea and reflect on the state of cultural integration and migration. Photo: Handout

“This year, you will see a few socially and politically-engaged artists and galleries in the programme, which is a reflection of how art and the real world can connect.”

KL’s Wei-Ling Gallery is hosting the Art Project Room with a showcase called Tanahair, featuring artists Chong Kim Chiew, Chin Kong Yee and Chen Wei Ming. The Special Exhibitions Area includes Malaysian galleries like A+ Works of Art, Richard Koh Fine Art and Segaris Art Centre, while regional names like Gajah Gallery (Singapore), Subhashok Art Centre (Thailand), Srisasanti Gallery (Indonesia), Eskinita Art Gallery (Philippines) and CUC Gallery (Vietnam) complete the eye-catching line-up.

The Art Expo Malaysia 2018 programme features 65 art galleries from 22 countries exhibiting some 1,500 works.

The Japan Pavilion is another busy hub at the expo, with eight contemporary art galleries from Japan exhibiting some 40 artists.

“If you want to find out about Japanese contemporary art and pick out works from the future stars of ‘Nipponseries’, then, making stops at these Japanese galleries will be a good start,” says Sim.


Malaysian artist Al-Khuzairie Ali’s Golden Age mixed media work, detailing the Malaysia Baru spirit, gets the attention of a visitor.


Japanese artist Akihiro Fujimoto’s sculptures, part of Gallery Ishikawa’s exhibit at the Japan Pavilion.

Art Expo Malaysia, established in 2007, is the longest-running international art fair in South-East Asia. Last year, Art Expo Malaysia welcomed more than 30,000 visitors at the Matrade venue, a record turnout to date.

Art Expo Malaysia 2018 takes place at the Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre, Jalan Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah (formerly known as Jalan Khidmat Usaha) in Kuala Lumpur till Oct 14. Admission: RM10 (three-day pass). Opening times: 11am-8pm, except on Sunday when the expo closes at 7pm. Visit: artexpomalaysia.com. Call: 03–7728 3677, or e-mail: info@artexpomalaysia.com.