Approximately 80% of living languages in Malaysia are indigenous languages, with many of them in danger of disappearing soon. In conjunction with the International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019 (IYIL2019), an exhibition, Voices of the People: An Exhibition of Indigenous Languages in Malaysia, will be held at the Centre for Malaysian Indigenous Studies (CMIS). The exhibition is being jointly organised by CMIS and the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics University of Malaya (UM). The exhibition aims to create awareness of the linguistic and cultural diversity of the indigenous people in Malaysia through curated audio and video recordings featuring stories from different indigenous communities. A range of activities will be carried out during the three and a half week long exhibition. These include performances, talks and workshops by indigenous communities. The exhibition, which is open to the public, also aims to share research and community engagement projects carried out by researchers at Universiti Malaya.
Throughout the exhibition, visitors can watch and listen to recordings of stories by different indigenous groups in Malaysia. Information about the speakers (with their consent), their communities, languages and culture will be provided. Indigenous art and craft will be on display and some will be available for purchase (to support indigenous artists and micro-economies). Interactive sessions with indigenous artists, musicians and leaders will also be held. Issues related to indigenous people in Malaysia, such as physical displacement, education, health and social well-being will also be highlighted during the exhibition through short films, talks, and panel sessions. The exhibition will feature an outdoor research garden for visitors to learn more about research on indigenous people in Malaysia.