APU Wayang Kulit La Coloration Challenge 2023: A Cultural Voyage for French Students | Asia Pacific University (APU)

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APU Wayang Kulit La Coloration Challenge 2023: A Cultural Voyage for French Students

Shadow puppetry, a captivating art form that has been passed down through generations, offers a unique opportunity for French students to express their creativity while connecting with a rich cultural heritage.

In celebration of cultural diversity and artistic expression, 30 students from EFREI, France, gathered to participate in the inaugural Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) Wayang Kulit La Coloration Challenge 2023.

The EFREI (École d'ingénieur généraliste en informatique et technologies du numérique) (Engineering School of Information and Digital Technologies) is a French private engineering school located in Villejuif, Île-de-France, at the south of Paris.

Wayang Kulit or shadow puppetry passed down through generations, represents a rich cultural heritage and offers an enthralling canvas for French students to express their creativity.

The event took place on 2nd November 2023, at APU Atrium, a culturally significant venue, with Wayang Kulit as a backdrop and Gamelan music creating an immersive atmosphere for participants.

Through the art of shadow puppetry, French students can immerse themselves in the vibrant tapestry of Malaysian culture and language.

They can discover the essence of Wayang Kulit, a traditional Kelantan form of shadow puppetry, and gain valuable insights into the Malaysian language and its cultural nuances.

Participants were judged by a panel of lecturers evaluating their creativity, precision, and artistic innovation, encouraging them to push the bounds of tradition and apply what they had learned in class.

Meantime, this opportunity allows the International University Carnival on E-Learning (IUCEL) 2023 Gold medal system winner, Discovering Cultural Tourism Via Vertical Chatbot - The Shadow Puppet Theatre by Information & Communication Technology students Wong Chai Fuu and Ng Zi Yuan to test their system when the competition is ongoing.

In terms of innovation, the chatbot provided French language translation, making it one of the languages available for the event.

The Wayang Kulit Colouring Challenge was not just about winning awards for Quentin Adeline, Ali Nahas, and Thibault Victor Muguet Chesnel, who got the top three winner’s trophies; it was also about cultural appreciation.

Because the challenge, for them, provided a bridge between tradition and creativity, allowing foreign university students to delve into the deep artistry and symbolism of this ancient art form while infusing it with their own contemporary interpretations and vibrant colours.

Simultaneously, this event showcased the potential of art and cultural exchange, bringing French students closer together through a shared tradition, particularly in the Language and Culture (L&C) module.

Participating in this four-month exchange programme was really beneficial, according to Quentin, a Computer Science student.

He greatly loved immersing himself in local activities and found the experience to be quite enjoyable, especially when he participated in the Wayang Kulit La Coloration Challenge with his friends.

“Our time in APU, Malaysia was incredible. It is a world away from France, and we were captivated by the rich tapestry of cultures and ethnicities that make up the campus community.

“Everywhere we looked, there were vibrant and diverse groups of people coming together, creating a dynamic atmosphere. It was an experience like no other, and we relished every moment of it,” he said representing all exchange students from France.

Head of the School of Computing (SoC) Assoc. Prof. Ts. Dr. Tan Chin Ike presented prizes to the Top-3 winners accompanied by Senior Lecturer Mr. Ahmad Nadzri Roes.

Special thanks to Assoc. Prof. Ts. Dr. Vinothini Kasinathan, Ms. Aida Zamnah Zainal Abidin, Mr. Ahmad Nadzri Roes, Ms. Tham Hoong Ching, Ir. Jacqueline Lukose and Mr. Muhammad Fadhirul Anuar Mohd. Azami for organising excellent events promoting cultural exchange and creative exploration among students.

This initiative plays an important role in promoting global harmony and understanding in order to create a sense of mutual respect and enjoyment of our shared human heritage, in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) 4: Quality Education and UNESCO’s culture education goals.

French students who participate in this event embark on an exciting path of cultural exploration and artistic expression.

They celebrate the beauty and significance of Wayang Kulit through vibrant colour strokes and the universal language of art, creating a genuinely unique and enlightening experience that they will remember long after they return to France.