Karex Bhd CEO and executive director Goh Miah Kiat on its annual 'Art Against AIDS' charity auction and exhibition

AAA has established a reputation for using creative artwork and freedom of expression to overcome the stigma associated with condom usage.

The group also celebrates a decade of being listed on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia (Photo: Soophye)

Options: Congratulations on the upcoming Art Against AIDS (AAA) 2023. When will it be and what can art enthusiasts look forward to?
Goh Miah Kiat:
Thank you very much. AAA is our annual charity art auction that we host every year in conjunction with World AIDS Day. It brings together members of the local art community to improve sexual health awareness through the universal medium of art and design. The wonderful entries submitted for 2023 will be exhibited at Publika’s Segaris Art Center, Kuala Lumpur, this month. Do drop by if you have the chance!

Tell us about getah, this year’s theme, and some of the participating artists.
The theme of getah or rubber is obviously very dear to me. Not only does it represent one of the most important natural resources on Earth, but rubber is a medium that is central to our business at Karex. The fact that it can be fashioned into condoms as well as bedding products reflects the versatility of the material. Participants in AAA in the past were limited to students from the art community. Over time, as the event gained popularity, we extended participation to up-and-coming Malaysian artists.

How many artworks in total have been submitted for AAA 2023?
We received works from over 300 participants this year. A panel of judges has already viewed and selected the winning pieces. These will be sold during a silent auction, with the proceeds going to causes supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS. Guests who would like to purchase the other works may do so during the art exhibition at Segaris Art Center.


Muhamad Zaim Bin Kamaruzaman won the RM10,000 grand prize with "Monument I 'Berbakti, Berbudi Kepada Tanah'" (Photo: Art Against AIDS)

How many art auctions have taken place since it was first established?
Barring the two pandemic years when events could not be held, an AAA has successfully taken place every year since 2015. We held the first AAA in Malaysia in 2015 in conjunction with the launch of ONE Condoms in the country. ONE Condoms is a brand we have worked with as far back as 2003. It has established a reputation for using creative artwork and freedom of expression to overcome the stigma associated with condom usage. AAA is our idea of bringing this wonderful concept to Malaysia in a bid to encourage healthier conversations.

How did your own love for art begin?
My mother was an art teacher, so my love for art began very naturally, from a young age. As with most things, my preferences and style have evolved over the years. I always have a soft spot for local artists, maybe in part because I believe many of them are not given the opportunity or platform to express themselves in a big way. I hope events like AAA can help change this one day.

What was the first piece of artwork you purchased?
It was actually one by my daughter. She had painted a piece depicting little happy monsters and submitted it for sale at a charity auction. I found her inspiration behind it especially interesting as it harks back to events of my own childhood. Although I was definitely biased on that particular occasion, I wholeheartedly believe in supporting art that touches you, especially when it’s for charity.



You travel extensively for work as well as play. Tell us about some of the most inspiring and artsy destinations you’ve visited.
Work has given me the opportunity to travel to all corners of the globe, including to the continents of South America and Africa, but I keep coming back to London when I think about destinations that inspire me. I feel the art there extends beyond the canvases and sculptures in museums. Instead, it’s the architecture and bustling streets that always interest me most. Each time I return, I feel like I am looking at the city through a fresh lens and that’s always great from an artistic perspective.

What are your favourite art galleries and museums?
In no order, it would be the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Louvre in Paris and the National Palace Museum, Taipei.

What are you listening to right now?
At the moment, it’s mostly contemporary jazz with a few old-school Shanghai-style tunes thrown in.

Describe your idea of a perfect weekend.
A relaxing trip with friends and family to Bangkok where I especially enjoy the food and shopping.  


The Art Against AIDS exhibition runs from Dec 3 to 23 at Segaris Art Center, Publika.

This article first appeared on Dec 4, 2023 in The Edge Malaysia.

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