Museum of Asian Art
June 18, 2012
Guide – Cityscape Art
June 18, 2012

Rimbun Dahan Artist’s Residency Programme

The Rimbun Dahan Artist’s Residency Programme is perhaps one of the most recognized and established art residency programmes in Malaysia. The project was envisioned by Hijjas Kasturi and his wife Angela. Hijjas is one of the most established and popular architects Malaysia and Rimbun Dahan is an interesting place for artists to spend some time with the ‘wilderness’ and close to nature to exercise their art.

Engulfed within a small village in Kuang in Selangor, Rimbun Dahan sits on a 14 acre land that covers some thick woods, a traditional Malay house, an art gallery, a swimming pool, a lake, a gazebo and many different species of insects, small animals as well as the artists in residence here. Hijjas has always been regarded and very well respected to be one of the main movers in the art scene of Malaysia having cultivated and developed artists in the programme previously.

An interesting element about Rimbun Dahan is that it is located not too far from the city centre, taking only 45 minutes to arrive at the foothold of nature at its best. Here, the integration of art and nature gives it a unique setting where the artist-in-residence is able to escape from the honks and noise of the city and truly immerse into their own mental state before embarking onto their artistic journeys.

The residency programme is conducted closely between Malaysian and Australian artists where one would be able to find them spending either the long or short residency programmes offered here. The long term residency at Rimbun Dahan usually takes about a year and the artwork that has been produced will then be exhibited at an exhibition held at the underground gallery here. Malaysian artists like Chong Siew Ying, Wong Perng Fey, Choy Chun Wei, Ahmad Fuad Osman, Justin Lim and Zheng YuanDe have formerly been engaged with the programme where their artwork have since been inducted into the Rimbun Dahan’s permanent collection.

It is often said that Rimbun Dahan offers a great platform for aspiring artists to propel their career to greater heights in which after the residency programme, their artwork will be more exposed. However, the residency programme has also been adopted by established artists who would make use of the environment to revisit their association with nature and to provide a new perspective of producing their art. Unlike other residency programmes, Rimbun Dahan provides an ideal place for the artist to avoid the common amenities that they are accustomed to and to be able to indulge in their own thoughts within a place of serenity and calmness. Here, the artist is allowed to take their time into enjoying and indulging in the process of making their art. With time and space on their side, the artists will be able to change their body of work or to further enhance them. On top of that, they are also able to return ‘back to the basics’ where they can look for new directions or to revisit the initial objective that set them out on their artistic career in the first place.