By shouldering the trust given by the university as Director of the USIM Cultural Centre, Mister Ismail Ahmed has a great vision, mission and direction to steer this department. For him, the Cultural Centre is committed to strive alongside the university in integrating the culture of arts that is based on both Naqli and Aqli knowledge, called Artistic Culture. The Cultural Centre undertakes various initiatives in line with its commitment to become A Leader In Good Cultural Art and aims to be a reference to arts and cultural knowledge at national, regional and international levels.
Various successes and awards were forged by USIM students and staff, through a cultural platform pioneered by his team. His devotion and love for cultural arts is profound, so it is not surprising that he has poured out his heart, time and experience into this department.
Q1 How was the relationship of Arts and Human Civilisation established?
Artistic authors are like analog cameras functioning by talent and wisdom in capturing the history of civilisations and world events, cultures and social community. The relationship of human civilisation is clearly seen through the culture and artwork produced by the author. Culture is a value system for a civilisation. Art acts as a reflection on human culture, especially in displaying the value (by permission) or the value of human civilisation in its era.
The relationship of human civilisation is clearly seen through the culture and artwork produced by authors. Culture is a value system for a civilisation. Art acts as a mirror to human culture, especially in conveying value or the value of human civilisation in its era. Since the values of human civilisation are always dynamic and shifting, the culture captured by artworks symbolises human development, paradigm shifts in contemplating both old and new affairs as well as the future of human civilisation itself.
Q2 How is Art perceived trom the western perspective?
Western societies have long recognised the advantages of art in enhancing human wisdom. Particularly in music art, many studies have been conducted that prove music through so-called waves is capable of stimulating the human brain and striking a balance between creative and critical energies. Names such as Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Thomas Jefferson make up a small part of the intellects who obtain their ‘magic’ from waves as a result of musical sounds that stimulate their ingenuity. Their stories of success are recorded in western journals to open more research opportunities.
Take the example of Leonardo Da Vinci who is ranked by Tony Buzan and Raymond Keene in the first place as the most intellectual among the nine western geniuses, and he is known for his outstanding works of art such as Mona Lisa’s paintings and The Last Supper which have received recognition the world over. Michael J. Gelb explains how to articulate the skills of science, arts, logic and imagination that make the human brain balanced or what is called “Whole Brain Thinking”.
Q3 Where are literature and Arts in current circumstances?
Unlike sports that cost billions of dollars for infrastructure, athlete management, systematic training, tournaments and popularity that are now more inclined towards the industry than its patriotism, I feel that literature and arts are being more and more sidelined from mainstream life.
Reading the status of traditional literary and artistic figures, there is a sense of disillusionment expressed about literature and arts becoming more estranged. They are great human beings, advocates of high culture and always strive together with the philosophy of human life towards God, reason and human civilisation. Since they are fading from the radar of human capital development and government allocation, I ponder where did we go wrong? Is the role of cultural arts increasingly under-recognised by the people and the government?
Q4 Why is literature and Arts faced with this daunting trial?
What revolves at the centre of my thoughts is whether the communities and ‘those’ who are paired with this worldly titles understand and honour the roles of literary and artistic figures in co-development of civil society in Malaysia. An example that I can give of the indifference towards these famous figures is King Ahmad Aminullah who revealed his grief and frustration when it comes to ‘intrusion’ and brutal reality when the works of National Artist Syed Ahmad Jamal entitled Puncak Perdana / Twin Peaks (1985) was demolished in the capital.
The story of the unsung hero Cikgu Roslan Madun with his struggle for his poetry and folk songs across the archipelago in search of meaning for his people. There is indifference towards the theater struggles of Pak Dinsman (Shamsudin Osman) and his twin Pak Yassin Salleh who faced hardships in looking for a site to stage the Uda and Dara Musical Theater despite the fact that it comes from the great work of National Literary Figure Usman Awang that discusses the fate of the Malay language which has been denounced of its role in building the nation.
Q5 What is the right course of action now?
‘They’ may have forgotten that without literature and cultural arts in the human world that had yet to discover and admire technology like it is today, then no history would have been recorded. History has been recorded through literature and cultural arts. The history captured by the ‘camera’ of literature and cultural arts is what constitutes human civilisation in building a civilisation that symbolises human intellectuality until today. These creative works have always been a symbol of the history of human civilisation.
It is extremely unfortunate that literature and cultural arts are not in line with the building up of human wisdom and civilisation. The question is, if the role of human beings blessed with this God given ability is not acknowledged as a medium to exhibit and increase the intellectuality of the nation’s civilisation, then the literature and cultural arts will not work in a box of thought that has been locked shut by the insanity of modernity today. Wallahualam.