Minut Init was founded on the 10th November 2010 by Dali Abdul Azis and James Ly with the intention of diversifying the artistic climate of Malaysia. Minut Init represents a select group of artists from the obscure to the esteemed, committed to introducing art from all mediums and in all media, who sees art as a platform for experimentation and a means of interaction with society.
To borrow a line I often hear from guys who have scored with someone nice on a night out, “It was unassuming – once inside, I felt safe, open to possibilities, and expression.”
At the risk of coming across (ha) vulgar (ha), that’s a pretty accurate description of my experience at Minut Init.
Nestled in the nasi lemak heaven of Damansara Uptown, Minut Init is an arts space with a misleading name because the concept, possibilities, and even the range of exhibitions at present is enormous. You really have to see it to believe it.
If you’re after the predictably-paced clackety-clack of high heels and intermittent audible hums by self-professed connoisseurs of art, spliced with the incessant (often unwelcome) yammering of curators over Vivaldi’s Four Seasons; all swishing wine and eating canapes in a giant melting pot of douche, then this is not the place for you.
As I walked barefoot across Minut Init’s carpeted floors, I could see no organisational system/theme whatsoever. Art hung everywhere, anywhere; and perched on the floor against a wall if there was nowhere to hang it. I don’t know if the curator had a vision, but whatever he/she/they did, it was good because it left me feeling like it didn’t matter. The motley assortment of art pieces and cosy surroundings intrigued me – I wanted to look at everything.
All I could think of while I was walking through the rooms was how I wished more spaces like that existed. I felt that an unpretentious space like Minut Init probably gave more people access to art than typical sterile galleries with their intimidating polished marble floors and snooty staff.
You can even play mini golf!
Earlier, I was doing research to see if there were ways we could increase the number of small art spaces in KL when I stumbled upon this great article by Maaike Lauwaert called “Size Matters – An exploration of the indispensability of small art spaces”
[At this point, I would like to point out that Maaike Lauwaert, a respected Dutch art curator, also put a sexual spin on her description of small art spaces.]
Among other things, she discusses “art ecology” and how small art spaces fit into the grand scheme of things:
“If you approach the art world as an ecology which has to consist of a wholesome mixture of education, artists, galleries, collectors, curators, art fairs, museums, critics and journals; art spaces are indispensable in this structure because of their flexibility and experimental nature. They are places in which artists hold their first exhibition, where curators and directors learn the profession, where the visitors encounter unknown artists for the first time and where new methods and presentation models are tested and valorised. Much of the knowledge, talent, and innovation produced in small art spaces eventually finds its way to galleries, museums and the general public. Thus they are an indispensable link in the visual arts ecology, both in regard to the supply of new talent as to the innovation in the field. Furthermore, small art spaces, artists’ initiatives and journals have an important local function. They determine the local art climate and liveability of a city for art lovers, artists, curators, and theoreticians.”
If you want to learn more about the importance of small art spaces, I would highly recommend that you read the full article. Click here for a PDF.
The current exhibition at Minut Init is called CREOLE. It’s on from 28th April 2012 till 2nd June 2012 so you should really go check it out. Check the Minut Init Website for more details.
If you’re an artist, talk to them about possibilities. If you have lots of money to spare, either give it to me or invest in another small art space. Both are ways of keeping the dream alive.