As a multicultural society built on a melting-pot of different races and heritages, Malaysia has the proud distinction of having one of the most varied histories in this region. Shared among people of all walks of life who call this nation home, we all have a story (or ten, depending on what time mamak close) to tell about the time we have spent living in Malaysia, from childhood nostalgia to adulthood dreams and aspirations.
It is through these stories that two local photographers, John Kam (@cvpturesjohn) and Daniel Adams (@danieladamsphotography) have built upon with the launch of their recent exhibit, Zaman Kita, held at GMBB Kuala Lumpur. The exhibit is produced in collaboration with Gentle Rice Journal (@gentlerice), local illustrator Stan Oh (@stan.oh), as well as makeup artist Nick Tan (@makeupbynick.t).
Zaman Kita comprises of three collection of photographs, each meant to depict a specific ‘zaman’ in our lives as Malaysians.
1. Nostalgia by Daniel Adams
‘Nostalgia’ is exactly what it says on the tin; this series takes a very whimsical route in showcasing the tokens of Malaysian childhoods that most of us are familiar with as we were growing up. Like PS2s, Choki Choki, and that goo that turns into balloons! Throwback giler!
Daniel Adams said that the series was inspired by the quintessential Malaysian childhood, and wanted to “…bring a spark of joy in every Malaysian, remembering the carefree times of our youth.”
2. MEMBAWANG by John Kam
This is followed by John’s series titled ‘MEMBAWANG’, which features candid shots of Malaysians from various walks of life indulging in what seems to be a super fashionable lepak session.
The series is meant to showcase the unity that all of us as Malaysians share when we go about doing everyday things, without even noticing the differences we have between each other.
Photographer John says that “I wanted to show Malaysians that not necessarily we have to always talk about being united to make a point. Most of the time, we practice racial unity on a daily basis without even realising it.
I think people should be more aware and appreciative of that fact.”
3. SKINDEEP by John Kam
And finally, Zaman Kita rounds off with stories from today and tomorrow, with John’s series entitled ‘SKINDEEP’. As the name implies, viewers are encouraged to look beyond the skin as each portrait featured on this huge wall tells a story of its own.
From refugees to transients, to expats and locals from different upbringings, everybody featured in this story has a story to tell, as well as hopes and dreams to share about Malaysia. You can read them all on Gentle Rice Journal too!
He mentions that “For a lot of people who live in Malaysia, we don’t necessarily get to hear their stories. Some of them lack the platform to reach out and make their voices heard. We only hear about the good and the pretty, but what about other underlying issues like racism, discrimination, unemployment?
This is why we organised SKINDEEP. And I will be continuing to work with Gentle Rice Journal on publishing more stories from different people who are living, or had lived in Malaysia.”
While you may be a little too late to catch opening night, SKINDEEP and MEMBAWANG will still be exhibited in collaboration with the psychology students of HELP University at the Art Includes Festival. All proceeds from sales at their booth will go to helping the Lovely Nursing Centre. So do drop by!
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