It has taken three years to make the second edition of the KL Zine X DIY Festival 2019 a reality.

This joint festival, between the independent fanzine-makers and DIY communities, is set to roll out more than 40 fanzine (or “zine”) vendors, small print-based publishers, fringe visual artists/designers and indie comic book collectives at the ODC Creative Hub, Oasis Damansara in Petaling Jaya on April 20.

In terms of scale, this upcoming KL Zine X DIY Festival 2019 is several times bigger when compared to the previous collaboration in 2016.

This weekend’s festival programme is packed with workshops, talks, music gigs, documentary screenings, an art exhibition and zine launch events.

“Yes, I think, by far, this is the biggest Zine X DIY festival in terms of promotion and expected crowd turn-up,” says Nizamuddin Ahmad (or Nizang Mosh), 37, who is one of the festival’s organisers.

“With more zine events cultivated by local communities and also some wider media attention, I do think more new faces are interested in zine making and you can say that this DIY art form is experiencing a revival. The fanzine styles, genres and outlook are different compared to the 1990s and 2000s. Nowadays, the quality is better in terms of language, graphics and most certainly, print quality,” he adds.

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Apart from fanzine-makers and DIY vendors, the KL Zine X DIY Fest 2019 will also present an art exhibit called My Body My Rights, featuring 10 newcomer artists. Photo: Filepic

“Compared to the 1990s where most zines were (punk) music-related and in English, the zine scene nowadays is mostly in the Malay language, with a broader scope of topics, spanning arts and culture, literature, poetry, comics, photography, community activism and much more.”

Nizamuddin, a design lecturer and founder of Karya Raya Publishing, mentions that a degree of curation was needed to tighten the festival’s focus.

“We mostly accepted vendors who publish and sell zines, DIY art and craft products. There are also a few vendors who sell non self-made items and pre-loved items, which we accepted because it is still considered as “DIY Economy”. So we actually asked them what they are going to sell, and checked to see whether the products were suitable with our (festival) theme, which is ‘Membangun Ekonomi Kreatif’,” says Nizamuddin.

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Sabahan art activist collective Pangrok Sulap’s woodcut prints will be available at the festival.  Photo: Filepic

As a social network and a thriving subculture, the fanzine and DIY communities do already interact at the grassroots level.

This festival, as Nizamuddin agrees, is a natural progression of serving the respective scenes and introducing this non-mainstream network to the masses.

“Home-made zine-making is a part of DIY culture, and vice versa. There is always a zine vendor or two at a music gig or an indie arts event. You also find DIY music being sold at pop-up zine gatherings. The idea is to gather the tribes, to create a platform where everybody can meet and mingle.”

From book binding workshops, poetry readings, woodcut workshops, a DIY economy forum, a talk about stateless Malaysians, a sharing session about Thinker Studios and an indie music documentary screening, the festival has managed to pack in a sizeable programme.

The festival, with its inclusive outlook, is also unique in that there is nearly equal representation of male and female zinesters.

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‘In Malaysia, zine culture has never disappeared. It has existed in and around various DIY and punk scenes for years, but today, a wider zine scene has emerged, driven by diverse communities outside these usual scenes,’ says Nizamuddin. Photo: Filepic

Importantly, the KL Zine X DIY Festival 2019 is also not limited to Klang Valley indie communities.

“Art collective Pangrok Sulap and NGO outfit Borneo Komrad are coming from Sabah, while we also have OT & Co from Kelantan, a DIY merchandise specialist. Kedai John Jalal from Johor Baru is also on board, it publishes zines and also sells analogue camera photo prints. Not to forget Kedai Suza from Melaka that produces its own art prints. It’s good to find out what is happening outside the Klang Valley,” says Nizamuddin.

Two bands from Kota Kinabalu – Con-damn The Corruptor (punk rock) and Markaz 69 (ska) – are also appearing at the festival.

A festival also needs to have a solid selection of zine-focused vendors. With participants such as Penerbitan Langit, Padajiwa, Kidal, Kolektif Ketepi, Legasi Oakheart, Kedai Saharil, G Nation, Parasit and Geng Gelabah, the festivalgoer is assured of a busy time investigating a wide array of fanzines.


KL Zine X DIY Festival 2019 takes place at ODC Creative Hub, Oasis Damansara, Petaling Jaya in Selangor on April 20 from 10am to 11pm. Free admission for the fest programme (market area, workshops, talks, screenings) except for the mini concert (tickets: RM20, pre-sale, and RM25 at the door). Contact: 017-963-9316 or 012-342-0243. FB: KL Zine X DIY Festival 2019.