The 8th MOCAfest Hits a Resounding Note


Dec  15th

Arts and culture festival celebrates diversity and facilitates entrepreneurship in the creative arts industry

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 15 December 2015 – Arts enthusiasts and the creative business community were in for a treat when they attended the 8th Marketplace of Creative Arts festival (MOCAfest), which returned this year with an exciting and vast array of activities including workshops, masterclasses, panel discussions, visual arts exhibitions, film screenings and performances by over 44 emerging and established artists from 20 Muslim and non-Muslim countries worldwide.

In keeping with the theme of “Preservation of Identity”, the eighth edition of MOCAfest was a hotbed of creative offerings, bringing together artists and audiences of different cultures and backgrounds to one melting point in a celebration of diverse artistic expression.

Organised by the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation, in conjunction with the 11th WIEF, the three-day festival connected people from various creative disciplines and served as an international platform for artists to network with prospective investors from the business community who attended the Forum to explore potential collaborations that benefit both parties.

The Hon. Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman of the WIEF Foundation, said, “MOCAfest not only aims to unleash a new wave of talent in the creative arts industry and exposing people to different cultures and art genres but also provides an opportunity to build bridges between the arts and business world.”

“The thriving creative arts industry is a powerful development tool that fuels economic growth by igniting innovation and nurturing entrepreneurship amongst artists. It empowers them to use their creativity and skills in attractive and productive ways to create sustainable partnerships with businesses which will generate jobs, revenue and an improved quality of life.”

“We are delighted with the overwhelming response from the public especially the youth with over 50 local university and college students in attendance. We believe that the 8th MOCAfest was an eye-opening experience for the artists, audiences and potential investors in getting a better understanding of how the arts have an economic impact on the community at large,” Tun Musa Hitam added.


This year’s MOCAfest saw the introduction of three new initiatives:

  • A treat for fans of open-air bazaars, MOCAfest’s very own Souq ran across the three days. The bazaar, held in partnership with Malaysian festival, Tempatan Fest, showcased some of the freshest local brands in clothing as well as exotic crafts from countries such as Morocco, Afghanistan and the Philippines.
  • Ideapad offered artists and budding creative entrepreneurs with an avenue to pitch their innovative ideas to potential investors and business partners, reinforcing the creative industry’s influence and contribution to the global economy.
  • Sharing Circle sessions that gathered artists, cultural producers and business delegates in fishbowl dialogues discussed contemporary topics that affect the creative arts industry including the development of a creative workforce and social entrepreneurship.


The Soundscape Concert, one of the longest-running highlights of the festival, featured local and international artists who demonstrated unique combinations of different art genres, celebrating diversity and the power of the arts to bring people together. It wrapped up the Soundscape Series which ran over the first two days of the 8th MOCAfest, featuring short performances revolving themes such as ‘identity’ and ‘past and present’. Some of the highlight artists were Noura Mint Seymali from Mauritania, Omar Offendum and Suphala from the United States, and local singer Najwa.

The 8th MOCAfest was a free-and-open–to-the public arts and culture festival that boasted an eclectic line-up of artists ranging from a ballet-inspired Russian artist who created a Magic Carpet, a Mauritanian musician couple who combined the regal tones of the ardine with the contemporary sounds of a modified western guitar to a Tunisian-French artist who married graffiti techniques and Arabic calligraphy in street art.


Some of these talents included:

  • eL Seed – French-Tunisian street artist whose works incorporate traditional Arabic calligraphy, a style he calls ‘calligraffiti’;
  • Omar Offendum – Syrian-American hip-hop artist, designer, poet and creator behind the viral song #Jan25, which was inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt;
  • Maïmouna Guerresi – Italian photographer, video artist and sculptor whose artworks provide an intimate perspective on the relationship between women and society;
  • Noura Mint Seymali – One of Mauritania’s foremost musical emissaries with a flair for the ardine, a traditional harp reserved only for women.
  • Faig Ahmed – Azerbaijani artist whose experiments with ancient traditions, cults and cultures result in captivating installations and embroideries.

On November 7, 2015, eL Seed conducted a talk at Ilham Gallery, co-hosted by MOCAfest, to share his knowledge, skills and experience, and exchanged views with his peers and audiences. He also showcased his skills to the Malaysian audience when he designed his distinct style of ‘calligraffiti’ with the Malaysian proverb, “Meluntur Buluh Biar Dari Rebung” written in Jawi script which adorned a wall in Lebuh Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

The 8th MOCAfest injected a cultural flavour to the experience of delegates at the 11th WIEF, themed ‘Building Resilience for Equitable Growth’, aimed to further facilitate economic development towards sustainable and equitable growth between Muslim and non-Muslim economies. Find out more about the 11th WIEF here:




About the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation

The WIEF Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation based in Kuala Lumpur, organises the annual World Islamic Economic Forum, a world-class business platform showcasing business opportunities in the Muslim world, and runs programmes of the various initiatives of the Foundation that strengthen people partnership and knowledge exchange between Muslim and non-Muslim communities across the globe.

The WIEF has previously held forums in Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Kuwait and
Pakistan, the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates and aims to bring together Muslim and non-Muslim communities through the common language of business.

The 11th WIEF was held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from November 3 – 5, 2015.


Find out more about the WIEF Foundation here:


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