We Had To Know Why These M’sians Make Portraits Of Folks Out Of Nasi Lemak & Different Meals

In the case of celebrating variety and unity, it’s probably we’d be listening to “I don’t see color” feedback amongst Malaysians. 

For Faye, Rachel, and Jon, nonetheless, celebrating the multiculturality of Malaysians with colour-blindness didn’t sit proper with them.

“To us, the great thing about being a multicultural Malaysia shouldn’t be diluted to shades of gray as a result of our colors are the place the sweetness lies,” Faye shared in an interview with Vulcan Submit. 

So, in 2016, the trio determined to carry their imaginative and prescient to life with The Rojak Projek, a collection of conceptual paintings that includes Malaysian meals of their mates. 

Utilizing Nasi Lemak To “Paint” Portraits

Their challenge began out with an enormous gathering of some mates, which is what they name The Rojak Social gathering. 

Their fifth Rojak Social gathering in Tom, Dick, and Harry’s Damansara / Picture Credit score: The Rojak Projek

“I realised the one factor that all of us can relate to is meals. Our meals has all the time been the gesture of peace which permits us to take a seat, eat and luxuriate in one another’s firm regardless of our variations,” Faye defined. 

30 individuals who have been invited to the gathering got here to mingle and shared a meal collectively, and later had their pictures taken by Jon. 

Their pictures have been then printed in B&W, and had the outlines traced utilizing a wide range of Malaysian dishes like char kuey teow, nasi lemak, roti canai, and so forth and so forth. 

Making portraits with nasi lemak, char kuey teow, and roti canai / Picture Credit score: The Rojak Projek

Apart from heavy meals like these, additionally they included native delicacies like murukku, prawn crackers, seri muka, egg tarts, in addition to native fruit like rambutan and mangosteens. These are all purchased themselves.

“Whenever you see the portraits, irrespective of what number of occasions you attempt to guess what their ‘race’ is, I can inform you that many occasions you’ll get it mistaken since you’ll be stunned at how blended they’re.”

“When individuals attempt to guess, I’ll all the time say ‘no’ till somebody says, ‘Malaysian’, then I’ll reply ‘sure’,” Faye shared. 

For funding these occasions, the founders would simply attain out to their mates, household, and different connections to ask if they might be prepared to assist out.

Jon, Faye and Rachel / Picture Credit score: The Rojak Projek

Wanting To Embody Extra “Lain-Lain” In Their Work

The time period lain-lain for Faye initially simply meant ethnic teams that she was already accustomed to, like Portuguese and Punjabi individuals, however not indigenous Malaysians.

Therefore, they determined to journey to all 13 states to treatment that and movie a documentary whereas persevering with the meals artwork portraits.

One in all their many travels throughout that time period / Picture Credit score: The Rojak Projek

Throughout their travels, they managed to supply 540 portraits of the Malaysians they met alongside the best way, and added extra dishes from totally different states into their meals artwork.

A part of their objectives for travelling was additionally to gather lists of various ethnic teams who would’ve been in any other case categorised as lain-lain, beneath what they name The Rojak Nation.

The vast majority of data they compiled in these lists consists of indigenous ethnic teams in Sabah and Sarawak, in addition to the places of those ethnic teams of their respective states. 

One in all their greatest milestones on this mission was getting featured in American vlogger Drew Binsky’s video when he visited Malaysia. He’s made movies about his travels to 194 international locations everywhere in the world so far.

When he got here right here, Faye and one of many The Rojak Projek members went to KLCC in hopes of sharing their work with him however to their shock, he’d already been knowledgeable about their work.

They even managed to get an interview with him, which landed them a shoutout on his Fb web page.

The Work Goes On Regardless of COVID-19

As a part of their purpose to unfold extra consciousness on being much less colour-blind in the direction of our variety, they’ve additionally taken their paintings to a number of exhibitions within the nation. 

To date, they’ve labored on collaborations with Maybank, RIUH, Seize, Sunway College, Pakatan Harapan, and extra. 

One in all their many exhibitions with RIUH and Seize / Picture Credit score: The Rojak Projek

Talking of which, additionally they collaborated with RIUH and The One Academy on a video collection that includes the Orang Asli of Kampung Sungai Buloh and their tales.

As a result of their work principally takes place when travelling and consists of taking photos of individuals and holding in-person exhibitions, it’s exhausting for them to obtain funding now and proceed doing the work that they did pre-pandemic. 

Therefore, within the meantime, Faye is working in the direction of securing worldwide collaborations to showcase their meals artwork and mission in doing so.

As of now, Faye is the one one operating The Rojak Projek full-time, whereas Rachel and Jon are now not concerned however are nonetheless supportive of the trigger.

  • You may study extra about The Rojak Projek right here.
  • You may learn extra social enterprises we’ve written right here.

Featured Picture Credit score: Faye Lim, founding father of The Rojak Projek

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