Colourful future for the creative

Lyna Mohammad

The creative industry is considered one of the most dynamic sectors in the global economy as it can generate income within its diverse group.

There have been calls for more people to step into careers related to the creative industry, as this could help further spur the country’s economy through their contributions generated from their knowledge and skills and vast backgrounds. As such, there has been a steady rise in activities related to this industry.

Apart from government initiatives, the private sector is also working hand-in-hand to generate more interest, especially among young students, to take up diverse options in the creative industry.

Various higher learning institutions are among those actively engaged in promoting programmes related to the industry.

One example is Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), which in August 2017 launched its BA in Design and Creative Industries, a combined major offered by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in collaboration with the Faculty of Integrated Technologies, the Faculty of Science and the UBD School of Business and Economics.

Local artists at the Billionth Barrel Monument in Seria. PHOTO: BONG POH YUK

The programme offers a wide range of interdisciplinary studies in the areas of art, design and media, innovation and technology, and business and management.

Meanwhile, private institution Kolej International Graduate Studies (KIGS) actively promotes the creative industry through its programmes. To further boost in promoting this industry, the college initiated its very own creative showcase through its annual VIBE exhibition.

The exhibition showcases the final and major projects for the Degree, Foundation, Diploma and Certificate students in both Art and Multimedia Design concept, where the students come up with their best design products and interactive multimedia designs for their final project, as they prepare to embark on their professional careers in the creative industry.

Brunei has seen notable progress in the creative industry over the past few years with a number of talented individuals and youth surfacing into the limelight, be it in photography, video, arts and crafts, music, design, fashion, film, performing arts or several others. Likewise, the number of students interested in following programmes and courses related to the creative industry has also seen a positive rise.

A keen observer in creatives, Iman Nur Abidah, feels the creative industry has continued to grow each year while noting that last year was a big year due to the pandemic.

She said a lot has been happening, from the launch of Just Bruneians, a free online resource to showcase creative work, find collaborators and get advice, to the Tiny Lit Fest, which hosted a series of online and in-person events that celebrated local art and literature.

“It just shows that the creative industry is here and will continue to speak up! I can’t wait to see what 2021 has in store for the creative industry!” said Iman.

She said with the country having many talented people, it is important to support and be able to amplify the voices of the nation’s creatives, and initiatives carrying the objectives to create a platform for local artists to showcase their creations have been actively implemented by creative people in the past year.

This, she added, goes along the government’s effort to get the creative industry moving forward, diversifying and strengthening the industry further, and carrying it to be at par with the creative industries abroad.

Before the global COVID-19 pandemic, events such as Malam Minggu Pusat Belia (MMPB) drew large numbers of visitors to the venue for each edition, until it was put on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Art exhibitions, either solo or by local art studios, have also seen a boom and further helped promote the creative industry during the past year along with other creative, such as those involved in documentaries, film, photography and several more.

The country has also seen local artists find creative ways to contribute their talent towards efforts in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the music scene. Names like Guardian of Rhythm (GOR), Eia, Zed Peace and several other Brunei artistes were the talk of the town when they releasedsongs written and composed by them, addressing matters related to virus outbreak.

GOR won the hearts of many as they dedicated their song, Don’t Push It, to friends and families working on the frontline in curbing the spread of COVID-19, while singer Eia teamed up with Zed Peace and Brunei artistes to create Come Together, a song to help spread awareness, positive vibes, strong hopes and lift spirits during the difficult times of COVID-19, with lyrics written by Eia herself.

The government’s initiative of establishing a working committee to oversee the development of creative industries in the country will look into how the industry can provide opportunities for youth to generate and spur the nation’s economy particularly in leveraging on technology.

It is also hoped to assist the nation in setting up policies for a conducive ecosystem for the local enterprises, which will help them to be competitive, both locally and on an international platform.

The creative industry has shown how it can promote a kind of social integration, social values and culture as a source of information and knowledge with the characters creating other kinds of industries in periods of uncertainty, and the value of a product is higher based on its originality, uniqueness, performance and appearance. The creative industry nowadays is also a tool for innovation.

This can be implemented in many other industries, creating synergies with creative industries itself or with other sectors. Creative artists can thus contribute to the public even during the pandemic, in an innovative way. Based on the digital revolution, it can mean reorienting as an artist to re-invent what audiences need and could lead to new business opportunities to create new market environments.