Sabah artist plans to confront those who stole harvest festival art

A Sabahan artist plans to contact those who appropriated his art in online images celebrating the major Kaamatan harvest festival.

Kendrick Ng, aka Kendylife, told Coconuts today of his plans to contact those people, including politician Calvin Chong Ket Kiun from the Democratic Action Party, for sharing online greetings yesterday that contained Ng’s signature cartoon graphics of a boy and a girl donning traditional clothing.

“Our team will be contacting [persons involved] regarding this matter with the goal to inform the relevant parties so they [are] aware of the errors made,” the 33-year-old said today, adding: “We would like to think well of others to assume that it was unintentional.”

Ng, who has been an artist for 12 years and is known for cute caricatures of people with oversized heads, described having “mixed feelings” when he saw people using his art without giving credit or remuneration. They were mostly used in online greetings to welcome the annual two-day harvest festival that also began yesterday.

“I am happy that my works are liked by important figures but at the same time, I am disappointed that such acts of not crediting and non-remuneration for artworks continue to happen to vulnerable populations like us artists,” Ng said.

Others who had appropriated his work of cartoons he created in 2018 included student body group the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia, or ABIM. Chong is also the MP for Elopura.

Ng took to social media yesterday to share with his 21,000 fans about his disappointment.

“Friends, maybe people don’t know. So this is an awareness campaign on my end, that before you use an artist’s work, there are proper procedures and consent needed,” he wrote in an online, adding the hashtag “#ArtIsNotFree.”

The artist is currently based in Kuala Lumpur and is celebrating the festival virtually.

“If you fancy an artwork, please take the time to look up the artists and message them for their consent and state the purpose of use,” he told Coconuts. “If it’s for commercial or PSA uses, the client should be upfront [with] the artist and compensate for their work.”

“You would be surprised that some artists may just need simple crediting, and that is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to support and promote the artist,” he added.

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This article, Sabah artist plans to confront those who stole harvest festival art, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.