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Chinese Arts Now Announces Rebrand

Chinese Arts Now (CAN) today unveils an exciting new name and bold new visual identity:  Kakilang (自己人).

Chinese Arts Now Announces Rebrand

Chinese Arts Now (CAN) today unveils an exciting new name and bold new visual identity: Kakilang (自己人)- 'one of us' in the Hokkien dialect, evoking kinship and affinity - widely used amongst East and Southeast Asian diasporic groups, is the company's new name.

The rebranding marks a watershed moment for the award-winning arts organisation as it grows the ambition, scale, and reach of its in-house productions and platforming of East and Southeast Asian artists. Next year, Kakilang will stage three live productions including an ambitious project with the Barbican, London to be announced shortly. Further partnerships forged with major cultural venues in 2023 also include co-commissions with The Place, Leicester Curve, York Theatre Royal, Cambridge Junction as well as Oxford Contemporary Music. The organisation's multi-artform festival, now renamed Kakilang Festival, will open in February with an exciting programme of theatre, family events, visual arts, dance, music, technology and queer cabaret.

Today's announcement also follows on from the recent appointment of three Associate Artistic Directors Si Rawlinson, Ling Tan and Daniel York Loh, who joined forces with existing Artistic Director An-Ting Chang in November last year as part of a major restructure placing artists at the very core of the company's organisational thinking.

The new website domain will be changed this month to www.kakilang.org.uk

Artistic Director, pianist, composer and theatre director An-Ting Chang explains: "It's very exciting to rebrand Chinese Arts Now to Kakilang, a word rooted and embraced by the diaspora, with a particular expression that doesn't exist in English. Our organisation today is a combination of many cultures and identities and the best thing is: this word broadens the people we want to include. Who is our Kakilang? That was the key question when we came up with this name. Our Kakilang is those who come together through art, and who champion diverse voices and communities. There are so many stories we want to tell from our communities. And we want more people to be our Kakilang, joining us through all forms of live arts."

Associate Artistic Director, designer and artist Ling Tan says: "Kakilang is a term I hear often in Singapore, where I grew up. When someone calls you Kakilang it's a term of endearment. Hearing someone say that here in the UK evokes warmth and a sense of home, and a feeling that I have a friend who can relate to my experience.

"For me Kakilang is an aspiration for our organisation, a term that I hope can encourage and welcome more people into our community. To aspire to build a connection between all of us that is not just based on where we come from, but what we are interested to explore and make together through art. "

Associate Artistic Director, choreographer and theatremaker, Si Rawlinson adds: "Like many people who are mixed-race, I sometimes struggle with a sense of belonging. For me Kakilang expresses the feeling of connection that we find through art, and the sense that belonging can mean many things. For me, like many people who are mixed-race, I sometimes struggle with a sense of belonging. For me Kakilang means finding yourself on the inside and the centre of a bigger story, extending out from the Chinese diaspora, to East and Southeast Asian voices, and the greater context of the places we choose to live."

While Associate Artistic Director, writer, performer and filmmaker Daniel York Loh adds: "Everything about me is diverse. My ancestral roots are somewhere in the South of what we call 'China' but migrated further South to what was Singapura in Southeast Asia and then to Birmingham, England where it intermingled in Hampshire with White British/Irish heritage. Inside me dwells both the colonised and the coloniser. I was never really a 'Chinese actor' or an 'ESEA writer'. Was I even 'East' or 'Southeast Asian'? And did I belong anywhere? This is why I love 'Kakilang': Kinship... an aching for Home. 'Our People' and 'On Our Side'."

The rebranded organisation was founded in 2005 and became a National Portfolio Organisation supported by Arts Council England in 2018. To date it has presented three annual festivals, produced eight new productions, and 13 new commissions. In 2021 the Company won the Arts Council England's Digital Culture Award (Storytelling) for its pioneering collaboration with exhibition and cultural space TWO TEMPLE PLACE, involving a 3D arts encounter incorporating gaming technology showcased as part of its annual Festival. The first Festival launched in 2019 and presented a diverse range of art forms (music, drama, live art, dance, films, digital arts) with over 60 events across London and is now a biennial fixture in the arts calendar taking place across ten weeks in February.

Kakilang: 'one of us' in Hokkien*. Used in many places across East and Southeast Asia, evoking kinship and affinity.

*Hokkien: a group of Minnanhua 閩南語 / Ban5-lam5-oe7 dialects, "the speech south of the Min River", the most widely distributed of the Min languages. Minnanhua is spoken by slightly over 46 million inhabitants of the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines.

ABOUT KAKILANG formerly known as Chinese Arts Now (CAN) rebranded in September 2022.

Kakilang produces and presents world-class art, and pioneers multi-disciplinary artforms from a wide spectrum of Southeast and East Asian voices.

Since becoming a National Portfolio Organisation in 2018, the company has built an extensive network of partner organisations including Southbank Centre, Soho Theatre, LSO St Luke's, BFI, Young Vic, The Place and PRS Foundation, Asia House, Chopsticks Club and many more. We also have a close relationship with regional companies such as Pagoda Arts and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Arts in North West England.

In 2021 the organisation won Arts Council England's Digital Culture Award (Storytelling) which secured their position as a pioneer in innovative digital works. They are an Associate Company with Horizon and the former NDT Broadgate. To date the company has hosted three festivals, produced eight new Productions, toured the UK and internationally and presented 13 new Commissions. Works include:

  • every dollar is a soldier/with money you're a dragon (2021). A 3D interactive exhibition and gaming theatre piece featuring spoken word, dance, original music and paper cutting fashion design. Winner of ACE's Digital Culture Award (Storytelling), selected for Horizon Showcase; 'a glimpse of how we might travel in the future' The Stage.

  • Augmented Chinatown 2.0 (2020). An innovative mobile app combining a tour guide, AR (designed by award-nominated artist Donald Shek) and music with original drama scenes written by rising playwright Joel Tan and performed by acclaimed East/Southeast Asian heritage actors co-presented with Soho Theatre; 'surprising and engaging immersive journey' The Stage; 'infinitely touching' Lyn Gardner

  • Low Carbon Chinatown (2022). An environmental initiative combining food, data science and community participation to explore different ways we can all help respond to the Climate Crisis. Featuring a pop-up space in Chinatown, built from low carbon materials and processes, that host a series of sit-down tastings, discussions and talks about the data science of climate change and Chinese food culture.

  • Beats and Bats (2019). An eclectic merge of new music with live ping pong playing and a piano trio premiered at Southbank Centre's SoundState Festival, with music composed by Nicola Chang, Alex Ho, Raymond Yiu. The Mollusc Dimension and An-Ting Chang and then presented by Beijing 707N Productions in Shanghai.

  • Citizens of Nowhere? (2019). A one-of-a-kind immersive on-site 'eaves-drop' audio drama written by Ming Ho presented at Southbank Centre during CAN Festival 2019 as well as at Lakeside Arts Centre and Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

An-Ting Chang is a concert pianist, composer, theatre director and Artistic Director of Kakilang (previously Chinese Arts Now) since 2018. She led CAN Productions with different artistic roles, including as the director for CAN X Two Temple Place: Digital Exhibition and Immersive Performance (Arts Council England's Digital Culture Award - Storytelling), Augmented Chinatown 2.0 (an app for AR, music and drama), Lao Can Impression (Southbank Centre's Purcell Room), composer and performer for Coalesce (King's Place), Bats and Beats (Soundstate Festival, Shanghai tour), producer for Citizens of Nowhere? (Duddell's) and pianist for LSO Eclectica (LSO St Luke's). Her background is a unique mix of science and art with a degree in Chemistry from National Taiwan University and a MMus and PhD in performance from the Royal Academy of Music.

An-Ting has performed regularly as a concert pianist at venues such as Southbank Centre, LSO St Luke's, Newbury Spring Festival, Deal Festival, Cheltenham Town Hall, and the Akademie der Künste Berlin (Academy of Arts).

In 2012, An-Ting founded Concert Theatre which pioneered a new hybrid genre mixing music and theatre. Productions such as Kiss of the Earth (UK tour, 2015) and The Tenant (National Portrait Gallery, 2017) were warmly received.

She has released her albums Songs from My Room, Water Image, Carnival of the Animals and a single Reminiscence.

Si Rawlinson is a Hong Kong born mix-race British Chinese choreographer and theatre maker. After developing his dance practice in the hip hop dance community and international competition scene, he has worked with acclaimed artists like Gary Clarke, Requardt and Rosenberg, and Alesandra Seutin, as well as dancing in commercial and film like John Lewis and Marvel Disney.

He started company Wayward Thread in 2016, and his work has been performed at leading venues like Sadler's Wells, The Place, and Royal Festival Hall, as well as internationally, and has been supported by organisations like Dance4 and the British Council. Rooted in break (breakdance), and mixing hip hop styles, contemporary dance, physical theatre, and spoken word, he explores compassion, identity, and our dissonant relationship with a changing world. Si Rawlinson is a Resident Artist at Curve Theatre in Leicester and a lecturer at De Montfort University. He is currently a puppeteer in the Royal Shakespeare Company's world premiere of My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican.

Theatre work as an actor includes the Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, Royal Court, Hampstead Theatre, Finborough, Gate, Edinburgh Traverse, Nuffield Southampton and most recently the European tour of LOVE by Alexander Zeldin (Odéon-Théatre de l'Europe) and Dr. Semmelweis at Bristol Old Vic - as well as extensively in Singapore and in the feature films The Beach, Scarborough and The Receptionist. He is currently appearing Dimitry at the Marylebone Theatre.

As a writer his plays include The Fu Manchu Complex (Ovalhouse) and Forgotten 遗忘. (Arcola/Plymouth Theatre Royal). He is one of 21 "writers of colour" featured in the best-selling award-winning essay collection The Good Immigrant. He is a founder member of Moongate Productions and associate artistic director of Kakilang (formerly Chinese Arts Now) with whom he co-created and performed in

every dollar is a soldier/with money you're a dragon part of CAN x Two Temple Place which recently won the Arts Council Digital Culture Award (Storytelling).

Ling Tan is a multidisciplinary Southeast-Asian artist working within social engagement, technology, citizen participation and politics. Originally trained as an architect, her work explores people's interaction with the built environment and our collective agency and responsibility in tackling complex issues surrounding our cities. Her work aims to enable communities to make sense of their environment, express opinions in a playful and performative way, and collectively address issues such as the climate crisis, public safety, air quality, gender, demographics and race. She is currently working on projects that explore new digital-physical participatory methodologies, including recently completed Low Carbon Chinatown. She designs, fabricates and writes software for her projects, ranging from wearable-tech, interactive installations to participatory outdoor performances. Her work has been exhibited internationally including Centre Pompidou (France), V&A, Barbican (UK), HeK (Switzerland) and Wits Art Museum (SA).




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