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We Had To Know Why These M’sians Make Portraits Of People Out Of Nasi Lemak & Other Food

When it involves celebrating range and unity, it’s possible we’d be listening to “I don’t see colour” 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 beauty of being a multicultural Malaysia shouldn’t be diluted to shades of grey because our colours are where the beauty lies,” Faye shared in an interview with Vulcan Post. 

So, in 2016, the trio determined to carry their imaginative and prescient to life with The Rojak Projek, a sequence of conceptual art work that includes Malaysian meals of their associates. 

Using Nasi Lemak To “Paint” Portraits

Their challenge began out with a giant gathering of some associates, which is what they name The Rojak Party. 

Their fifth Rojak Party in Tom, Dick, and Harry’s Damansara / Image Credit: The Rojak Projek

“I realised the one thing that we all can relate to is food. Our food has always been the gesture of peace which allows us to sit, eat and enjoy each other’s company despite our differences,” Faye defined. 

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

Their images had 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 / Image Credit: The Rojak Projek

Besides 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.

“When you see the portraits, no matter how many times you try to guess what their ‘race’ is, I can tell you that many times you’ll get it wrong because you’ll be surprised at how mixed they are.”

“When people try to guess, I will always say ‘no’ until someone says, ‘Malaysian’, then I’ll reply ‘yes’,” Faye shared. 

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

Jon, Faye and Rachel / Image Credit: The Rojak Projek

Wanting To Include More “Lain-Lain” In Their Work

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

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

One of their many travels throughout that time period / Image Credit: The Rojak Projek

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

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

The 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 of their largest 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 nations all around the world to this point.

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 Facebook web page.

The Work Goes On Despite COVID-19

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

So far, they’ve labored on collaborations with Maybank, RIUH, Grab, Sunway University, Pakatan Harapan, and extra. 

One of their many exhibitions with RIUH and Grab / Image Credit: The Rojak Projek

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

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

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

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

  • You can be taught extra about The Rojak Projek right here.
  • You can learn extra social enterprises we’ve written right here.

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

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