Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 4:25 AM

Johan Ishak
Acrylic and Ink on Canvas
90cm X 90cm
6 November 2014
2:00 a.m.
Buanaseni Studio Shah Alam


ASIMILASI is about assimilation of the diverse ethnic groups in Malaysia establishing a one nation identity, i.e. 1Malaysia. This process has been in progress since the 1800's when the colonial master, the British Empire, brought in Chinese for mining activities and Indians for agriculture. The assimilation has, to some extent,  achieved harmonisation given that the different ethnic groups have co-existed for more than 2 centuries. Each element represents an ethnic group: Lantern for Chinese; Peacock for Indian; Keris (the Dagger) for Malay and the backdrop motives for the Indigeneous. One statement that is relevant for all of these ethnic groups to consider would be those Chinese characters on the lantern that say, "Loyalty to the Nation."
The image on the left is a study piece for the real work above. The study piece consists of pencil and marker sketches done way back in 1992 for my school magazine, Perintis. Then I added a digital montage work of images from the internet, namely the peacock and the lantern. As you may notice, the real work does not follow the study exactly. I have decided to enlarge the peacock, enhance the lanterns with golden icons (Peacock, Dragon, Ocean and Plants), chose a totally different Keris head with self created design elaboration; and, changed from a typical Malay motive design to that of Borneo.


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