27th Macao Arts Festival

08 Macao Arts Festival

I am always interested to find out about Arts Festival around the world. I recently found out that Macao will be having its 27th Macao Arts Festival (MAF) and the line up of programmes looks very interesting.

Themed around “Time”, MAF will kick off under the slogan “Reshape Your Imagination. Experience the Spirit of the Times” conveying the message that classics always go hand in hand with our lives.

MAF will be orchestrating 27 fascinating programmes, divided into seven distinctive categories: Thematic Highlights, Groundbreakers, Cross-Disciplinary Creations, Family Entertainment, Quintessence of Tradition, Concerts and Exhibitions. The shows and outreach programmes, more than 100 in all, are set to satiate each and every spectator through an encounter with the soul and essence of culture and arts alongside a taste of beauty and sorrow in the passage of time.

As this year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of the western world literary giant William Shakespeare and of Ming Dynasty’s famed Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu, MAF will present a number of their works in tribute to the two virtuosos.

01 A Midsummer Night's DreamA Midsummer Night’s Dream


The cultural spectacular will kick off with Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream rendered by the Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Macbeth, presented by Third World Bunfight from South Africa. It will be seasoned by a rewritten and adapted score originally conceived by Giuseppe Verdi.

I am currently into Shakespeare and read some of his plays (read each one over and over because of the Early Modern English that was written in a rhythmic poetic iambic pentameter), and since I have yet to read both plays above, I thought it will be interesting to watch. Yay, yes, I am attending the festival!

06-The-Legend-of-the-Purple-HairpinThe Legend of the Purple Hairpin

Two of Tang’s tours de force will be staged: local Cantonese Opera maestro Chu Chan Wa and a number of professionals will interpret Tang’s widely admired The Legend of the Purple Hairpin. Meanwhile, The Peony Pavilion, recognised as one of the Four Great Chinese Classical Dramas, will delicately portrays bittersweet love in the form of Yue Opera excerpts.

02-Krapp's-Last-TapeKrapp’s Last Tape

Other highlights include renowned 20th century playwright Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape interpreted by consummate U.S. director Robert Wilson in person. To debunk stereotypes of disability and theatrical experience, a group of mentally challenged persons will perform in the Disabled Theater with their homespun bodies. Tao Ye, a talent in contemporary dance circles, will pilot TAO Dance Theater through “6” & “7”, presenting minimalism in dance. All these shows, among others, promise immense excitement.

The Cultural Affairs Bureau of Macao is dedicated to introducing tremendous international productions to widen audience’s horizons and to encouraging local artists as well as offering arts education, thereby accumulating a profound and sustainable element to Macao’s culture.

If you happen to visit Macao between 30th April – 29th May, you might want to attend and check out MAF’s programmes: 27th Macao Arts Festival.

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BICBF 2016

I went to Bologna International Children’s Book Fair for the third time this year. Every time, I went crazy looking at picture books and illustrations. I bet you would to if you were there.

bicbf01Malaysia Pavilion organised by Perbadanan Kota Buku.

bicbf02Some of the titles by Oyez!Books.

bicbf03I was invited by Hunan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House to attend the launching of Tang Sulan’s picture book series, of which one of the books is illustrated by me; ‘The Other Side of the Bridge’. It was launched by the winner of Hans Christian Anderson Awards 2016, Mr. Cao Wenxuan from China. Miss Lim Lay Koon, International Rights Director dari Yusof Gajah Lingard Literary Agency (YGL) and Oyez!Books was also present to witness the auspicious event.




Winner of the Fiction of Ragazzi Award (Fiction): MON TOUT PETIT, text by Germano Zullo, illustrations by Albertine. Winner of Non-fiction: LIBROS PARA MAÑANA (Series),text by Equipo Plantel illustrations by Marta Pina, Mikel Casal, Joan Negrescolor & Luci Gutiérrez. Winner of New Horizons: TONGUE TWISTERS (Lisanak Hisanak), text by Fatima Sharafeddine and illustrations by Hanane Kai. Winner of Opera Prima: PACHO RADA, LA LÉGENDE!, text and illustrations by Johanna Benz.


This year, BICBF celebrated 50 years of Illustrations Exhibition. The exhibition “Artists and Masterpieces of Illustration, 50 Illustrators’ Exhibitions 1967-2016” told the story of half a century that has seen a community of artists, publishers and readers meet each year to share their great passion: books and reading. The narration of
five decades, in the company of illustrators that have made their debut at the Fair or participated in the exhibition before going on to achieve international fame.

“Artists and Masterpieces of Illustration. 50 Illustrators’ Exhibitions 1967-2016”: an exhibition and a publication that intends to record the evolution and the latest trends in illustrated books for children through the work of artists from all over the world. In Italy with Altan, creator of Pimpa, and Roberto Innocenti with the unmissable Rose Blanche; together with great masters of illustration, Bruno Munari, Iela Mari and Lele Luzzati, to artists such as Chiara Carrer, Fabian Negrin and Alessandro Sanna, and the very young; from Britain, Quentin Blake, illustrator of Roald Dahl, Tony Ross, who is adored by the very young for his Stories of a Princess Series, including “I want my Potty!”; from France, Jean Claverie, author of Little Lou, Little Lou, and Yan Nascimbene, the refined illustrator of Italo Calvino; from Prague, the grand dame of illustration, Kv?ta Pacovská; from the United States, Eric Carle, creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and David Macaulay; from Australia, Shaun Tan, with The Arrival, a pertinent story of migration; to the South Korean Suzy Lee with The Wave, a precious bookwithout words, a cult work for readers of all ages, just to name a few.

Here are more photos:

bicbf07Illustrations by Korean illustrators.

bicbf08Illustrations by Taiwan illustrators.

bicbf09Books from Germany,Country of Honour this year.



Best regards,
Emila, Corniglia,
Cinque Terre, Italy.




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Bookaroo Literature Festival, Sarawak 2015

When I was invited by Jo Williams from the Bookaroo Trust India team to join its literature festival in Sarawak as a speaker, I was skeptical. I have never speak in public and never want to speak in public because I have doubt about myself; I feel that I am not good/expert enough to talk. So I told Jo, I had to pass the offer as I am not much into speaking.

But Jo, she did not gave up on me. She told me that I just have to do things in my capacity of an illustrator. I just need to draw with the kids, tell them what to draw on the doodle wall and that’s it. I quickly agreed and off I went to Sarawak to join the fest that was held on 28th – 29th March, 2015 at Pustaka Negeri Sarawak.

My first session went off in the morning with hundreds of kids turning up to join the doodle session. I started off with some doodles on the six feet wide wall of paper and they came and fill it within an hour! Some even took the effort to colour the doodles. It was such joy to see it happening before my eyes.

Kids colouring doodles

But on the next day, the rain was pouring so heavily and kids did not make it to my 2nd session. But that was okay as I had the volunteers to help me fill the doodle wall. It was fun to see enthusiasm on the face of’ bigger kids’ when they were told they can draw too.

The crowd started to come in after lunch when the rain stopped and thank God that the library was a full house again like the day before.

Anyway, let me tell you a bit about Bookaroo and what they do.

Bookaroo, the first children’s literature festival in India, was founded by children’s book activists; Swati Roy, Venkatesh M. Swamy and Jo Williams, in 2008, with a mission to bring children and books together in a borderless world. After organising several book festivals in Delhi, Srinagar, and Pune, it has now expanded to it’s first international venue: Kuching.

Pustaka Bookaroo or Bookaroo Literature Festival in Kuching kicked off on March 23 where speakers visited 18 schools in and around Kuching where they gave talks, did storytelling and few other fun activities. The highlight of the festival was held in Pustaka Negeri Sarawak where it brought two days (28-29 March) of exciting activities with storytellers, authors, illustrators and performers.

Those attended were Ng Kok Keong, Golda Mowe, Sarah Mounsey, Jade Fang, Stephanie Wong, Tanya Batt, Ary Nilandari, Dewi Tri Kusumah, Sophie Dewayani, Anushka Ravishankar, Ameen Ul Haque, Heidi Munan, Jantan Umbat, Jean Voon, Rosemarie Somaiah, Vashti Liong and Wendy Cooling.

bookarooteamParticipants with Bookaroo team; Swati (front left), Venkatesh (3rd row right, blue shirt) and Jo Williams (2nd top left, clad in orange shawl).

jadeJade Fang during her session: The Cat’s Whiskers. Jade Fang is an illustrator from Malaysia who currently lives in Singapore.

Seen interested in making the art was Wendy Knight (wearing Indian kurti), who was a volunteer at the festival. Wendy has been living in India for the past 3 years.


Ameen Ul Haque, also known as the Storywallahs, sang and played harmonica while telling stories.

stephStephanie Wong in her Monkey Faces workshop. Stephanie is an illustrator from Singapore who illustrated the famous Diary of Amos Lee book written by Adeline Foo.

tanyaTanya Batt in her Spooky Stories session. Tanya is an author and storyteller who hails from New Zealand.

I took the time to sit and listen to her story of a boy Pondika Cherika, who got eaten by a monster. The kids, their parents and I loved her and her story!

Pustaka Bookaroo will come back next year in Sarawak and I will be sure to join in the fun again.

Before I left the library for the airport, Jo said, “you know what, every time I go out, I will think of you because I mounted your illustrated postcards on my front door,” Jo ended the conversation while hugging me and telling me that she will send me the invite to the next Bookaroo edition in India.


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