GWKL’s anchor feature, the Luminary Program, hosts a range of influential speakers from a variety of creative expertises. Starting with GWKL 2016, the Luminary Program has seen leading curators, architects, collectors, artists, gallerists, and critics, amongst others, sharing views through the forums, panels and other meetings, on varied topics. These stimulating discussions are designed for both local and global audiences, shining a spotlight on the dynamic Malaysian creative. 

LUMINARIES 2016-2021

LUMINARY 1: Design Dynamics, Designing for Placemaking

Saturday, Nov. 27th - 10am – 12noon KL

The resistance to the rapid gentrification and homogenization of the built environment has led to the thinning out of culture, sense of community and identity. As a result, the notions of place and placemaking emerged as resultant approaches in disciplines of architecture, urban planning, and social sciences, amongst others. In short, placemaking connects people and place. While place is seen as a product, placemaking is a process involving interdisciplinary, entrepreneurial, innovative and creative approaches towards a “cause”. This session “Designing for Placemaking” discussed creating place and placemaking, connecting innovation and creativity, management, impact, and value. The session brought together a panel of emerging placemakers from an architectural background, convened and moderated by Associate Professor Dr Veronica Ng from Taylor’s University.

Images courtsey: Lee Cherng Yih: Shin Tseng, Wendy Teo


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Lee Cherng Yih received his architecture degree from RMIT University, Melbourne in 2002. After spending a decade working in Shanghai, London and Kuala Lumpur, Cherng Yih founded Formzero in 2012, an architectural research studio injected with the ideology of reengaging the architecture with tropical landscape in the urban context. His design approach often focuses on challenging the conventional architectural typologies and the boundaries of urban realm. Formzero also served as a think tank that runs within MOA Architects in Kuala Lumpur.

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Creative Director & Co- Founder REXKL

Shin Tseng graduated with a distinction in Master of Architecture from The Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) London. He is an architectural designer and creative entrepreneur is the Co-founder & Managing Partner of REXKL and Partner & Creative Director of Urban Agenda Design. Shin’s signature work of urban placemaking is the REXKL, an adaptive reuse of an old cinema into a cultural and creative hub aimed to be a catalyst to rejuvenate Downtown Kuala Lumpur.

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Architect & Artist, Founder Borneo Laboratory

Born in Borneo, Wendy Teo received her B.Arch (Dist.) from Taiwan Feng Chia University, M.Arch (Dist.) from Bartlett, UCL. Wendy is an ARB/RIBA (UK) Chartered Architect and founder of Borneo Laboratory, a multidisciplinary practice based in Borneo Malaysia. In Teo’s research and pedagogical direction, she and her team focus on embedding social-culture dialogue in forming architectural innovation. Wendy’s work displays a strong connection to the Borneo secluded and forgotten cultures, with the intent to prevent cultural erasure. Her work reflects the Borneo spirit bringing together art, culture, architecture, education, and community building in an inclusive manner.

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Associate Professor, Taylor’s University

Veronica Ng received her PhD in architecture from Curtin University, Australia, and is currently an Associate Professor and the Head of School of Architecture, Building and Design (SABD), Taylor’s University. Veronica is an educator, researcher and a writer. In seeking to bridge between education, practice and research, she curated and led several distinctive collaborative projects such as Undo-Redo with BetterCities, PavilionNOW with Shalini Ganendra Advisory (formerly Fine Arts), SentulWorks with YTL Sdn Bhd, and the ‘Analysing Architecture’ educational programme with Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

LUMINARY 2: Creator, Curator and Collector – Ways of Seeing

Sunday, November 28 - 10am - 12noon KL

Exploration of visual art practises from the perspectives of internationally renowned artist, Brenda Croft, who is also a curator and academic and established curator, museum director and now independent advisor, Kelly Gellatly. This segment provided tips on and insights into exhibition viewings; development of creative projects; engagement with museums and other collections; biennial projects and more. “A true artist is not one who is inspired, but the one who inspires others”. Salvador Dali

Images courtsey: Brenda L. Croft


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Kelly Gellatly is an experienced arts leader, advocate, curator and writer. She has curated more than 50 exhibitions of the work of leading Australian and international artists and has published extensively on contemporary art, Australian modernism and photographic practice. She was Director of the Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne from 2013-2020; Curator of Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne from 2003-2013, and has held curatorial positions at Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Kelly has contributed widely to the broader arts community throughout her career through her role on Boards and Advisory Committees, in the capacity of judge for a variety of prizes and awards, and as a guest speaker and lecturer. She is a Board member of the national philanthropic foundation Sheila.

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Born in 1964, Brenda L Croft is a curator, lecturer and freelance writer from the Victoria River region of the Northern Territory of Australia. She also shares a connection to Anglo-Australian, German, Irish and Chinese heritage. Croft works closely with family, friends and Indigenous community members. She maintains engagements with patrilineal family and community members of Gurindji-affiliated communities. She is known to showcase the strong individual photographs of people and places, highlighting a positive image of urban indigenous communities and presenting the community from an insider’s point of view. Croft's works are exhibited in numerous major public and private collections locally and globally. Presently, she is an Associate Professor, Indigenous Art History and Curatorship Centre for Art History and Art Theory, College of Arts & Social Sciences, Australian National University. She is also an Adjunct Fellow with the National Institute for Experimental Arts, UNSW Art & Design Australia, where she is completing her doctoral research. In addition to working at the Australian National University, Croft is a practising artist, independent writer and consultant.

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Ernesto Pujazon is an artist from Peru, a Senior Lecture and a Former Head of The Design School at Taylor’s University, Malaysia. Ernesto likes to work on large size canvases in various single shades of colours, referencing local South East Asian icons. He also produces single large drawings analysing his South American and ancient cultures roots. Ernesto currently focuses on producing academic still-life drawing using a technique called 'silver point on paper’. His artworks are part of the private collection in Peru, Brazil, Cuba, USA, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Switzerland among others. He is currently finalizing his PhD Research study in Fine Art at Local University. With more than 23 years of experience in academic Fine Arts teaching, he enjoys sharing and gaining knowledge. As Salvador Dali once said: “A true artist is not one who is inspired, but the one who inspire others”. He was the moderator for Gallery Weekend Kuala Lumpur (GWKL) 2020’s Luminary Forum III: Collecting & Curating – Ways of Seeing.

LUMINARY 3: LIVING WITH ART - Gems of Appreciation

Sunday, Nov. 28th - 5pm - 6:30pm KL

Exploring the portfolios of famed curator, Rachel Smith and seventh generation jeweller, Krishna Choudhary, this Luminary segment celebrated diversity in creating – whether such be through the shaping of gems into art jewellery designs, paintings, ceramics, furniture and more – all of which can enhance quality lifestyle through viewing and appreciation. Both Luminaries discussed individual creative projects and collaborations, the effectiveness of presentation, lessons to learn and share as well as of course, objects of beauty.

Images courtsey: Rachel Smith and Krishna Choudhary


Rachel Rose Smith is a curator, writer and researcher based in London. She is currently editing the catalogue raisonné of Ben Nicholson's paintings and reliefs. Before this she was Assistant Curator of Modern British Art at Tate and Curator at the Heong Gallery, Cambridge. Projects include The Bauhaus and Britain (Tate, 2019), Barbara Hepworth: Divided Circle (Heong Gallery, 2020) and St Ives: Movements in Art and Life (RWA Bristol, 2020). She completed a PhD on art movements and mid-century St Ives, Cornwall, in 2015.

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Son of Santi Choudhary (founder of Royal Gems & Arts), Krishna Choudhary has admirably nurtured important characteristics from his prestigious lineage, not least a passion for historical artefacts from his homeland, as well as an expert eye for rare gemstones.
Having been exposed to the finest of jewellery for most of his life, Krishna Choudhary now promotes the authenticity-driven methodology of sourcing old stones that were mined 150 years ago to be the star of his modern renditions. By imagining what kind of jewels these rare minerals would inspire today, he strives to create a collection that celebrates India’s craft and ritual traditions but in a contemporary way.

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Muhammad Syed is an ardent writer, with published works in newspapers and journals. He is the Fashion Editor for Cambridge University Varsity Publications where he is especially keen on spotlighting creatives and recently interviewed New York Times Journalist, Elizabeth Paton. He is greatly interested in platforms for creative feature, and as an active committee member of the Cambridge Union, he shares his deep interest in museum curation, collections, content and contemporary engagement with varied forms of aesthetic. He sees the creative and multi-disciplinary engagement as another valuable approach to communication and expression, to be developed responsibly and responded to accordingly.

"I was thrilled to be in the midst of a dynamic group hailing from Kuala Lumpur, New York, Toronto, Singapore and Hong Kong. The dialogue was brilliant - stimulating and informative. GWKL goes from strength to strength, providing innovative programs while embracing collegial and inspiring inter-disciplinary groups of people who come together as one mind, to promote the arts and KL as a world class city of creativity."

Lindy Joubert,
Vice President, World Craft Council, Pacific Asia Region