LONDON – Singaporean theatremaker Nur Khairiyah has come a long way since her postgraduate studies began in London. From co-founding FK Co-Lab to her eventual graduation, she’s also gone on to produce Same Same Collective’s Drop Dead Gorgeous and Martha Watson Allpress’s Patricia Gets Ready (for a date with the man that used to hit her) for VAULT Festival 2020, amongst other events.
Now, under her Rumah Khai label, Khai is ready to present a one-day festival this March, celebrating Asian artists of all colours and forms in London. Taking its name from the Malay word for ‘home’, the inaugural edition of Rumah Fest will see an eclectic group take over Rich Mix’s The Mix and present provocations, workshops, communal lunch, bite size performances and a closing music party.
With the aim of meeting the increasing demand for space, representation, new audiences and to highlight the wealth of artists from the Asian diaspora, Rumah Fest will see The Mix filled with British-Indian contemporary artist Ketna Patel’s ASIA POP lifestyle collection, melding pop and high culture into furniture, while zines Oomkzine, Fat Boy Zine and Indigo Magazine will also display their publications covering topics ranging from women to activism, Asian food & culture, and new voices from South East Asian arts and beyond.
The festival itself will be divided into 3 segments. Named after the Malay word for ‘play’. Main-Main (Play & Slay) allows visitors to try workshops such as learning traditional stitch resist tie-dye techniques from the Bai ethnic minority group in Yunnan with Yi Crafts, playing with food and craft by using objects to decorate them with Zing Yang, and even learn how to make LUSH’s popular Comforter bubble bar and their Big Blue bath bombs, the latter of which uses traditional Asian ingredients.
Under Makan Berdamai (Food For Thought), join the Ugly Supper Club and feast on Thai-inspired sharing plates, with cuisine such as Raw Beef Larb, Torched sugar snaps, Smoked cashew Gado Gado “Toss Salad”, Burmese Style Aubergine and Beef Cheek Curry with wild ginger. Join Ketna Patel, artist Hi Ching and Yulodsh Juraboev (Artistic Director of Orzu Arts, the first Central Asian Theatre Company in Europe) as they discuss multiculturalism and what it is like to be an Asian Artist in London today. Finally, go on a healing journey with Mendü as you connect you to yourself and others and feel a sense of empowerment.
And as for performances, get ready once the sun sets with Kelab Malam – A Night of Performances, with bite size dance, spoken word and performance pieces revolving around culture, identity & heritage. This is Not A Solo Dance by Yun Collective is a performative drawing solo inspired by Chinese calligraphy, while The Masti of Melody by Marissa Khaos features berimbau music by Michael Rabimsha and focuses on the lingering violence and echoes of war. Lastly, Who Took My Malay Away? by Mohamad Faizal Abdullah, reflects on the protagonist’s culture and Jawi, the Arabic script that the Malay people used to write and read with.
Bringing the festival to close will be DJ Arya Rinaldo from Jakarta (now based in London), who will be spinning Nusantara disco sounds, along with an Improv Comedy set by ComediAsians, UK’s first all Asian improv troupe dedicated to celebrating Asian performers in London.
With Rumah Fest, come rediscover the meaning of home with Khai and co, and get ready for a full day of fun, celebrating the rich diversity of Asian artists and culture in London.
Rumah Fest takes place from 10.30am to 10.30pm on 21st March 2020 at The Mix, Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, Shoreditch, London E1 6LA. Tickets available here