Cermelang, Gemilang, Terbilang (Excellence, Glory, Distinction) - Alvinology

Cermelang, Gemilang, Terbilang (Excellence, Glory, Distinction)

Malaysia, Truly Asia
Malaysia, Truly Asia

No, this is not the latest Truly Asia promotional billboard from the our friendly neighbour, Malaysia. It is an installation artwork at Old City Hall, part of the Singapore Biennale 2008.

The work is titled “Cermelang, Gemilang, Terbilang (Excellence, Glory, Distinction)”, and is made by Malaysian artist, Liew Kung Yu. “Cermelang, Gemilang, Terbilang” is Malaysia’s National Day slogan.

The artwork consists of two elements. First, is basically a Photoshop montage of various Malaysian icons such as the Petronas Towers, the first Malaysian astronaut, the Proton motorcar; symbols of Malaysia’s modernisation arranged in the shape of a Pohon Beringin or “tree of life”.

Backview of the montage
Malaysias national car, the Proton
Malaysia's national car, the Proton

The latter appears in Wayang Kulit (shadow puppet theatre) performances. This montage is juxtaposed with the word Medeka (independence/freedom). Secondly, and in line with the play of light and shadow from Wayang Kulit, this Pohon Beringin image is perforated with a series of holes and stilts that, though not discernable from the front, allow for light to pass through them. This casts an image onto the floor surface of one of the Demon King Rawana, the two-headed Kelantan version of a traditional character from Wayang Kulit, a greedy but (in some versions) good villain – who loves showing off, according to the artist.

Demon King Rawana
Demon King Rawana
Wayang Kulit
Wayang Kulit

The description sounds very complex isn’t it? Well, to me, it’s simply a mischievious installation made to spoof the showy side of Malaysia’s path to modernisation, in a country with a rich cultural tradition. 🙂

Read the rest of my Singapore Biennale 2008 entries:

Through the Looking Glass

Address (Project: Another Country)

Technorati Tags: singapore biennale 2008, south beach development, malaysia, truly asia, cermelang gemilang terbilang, excellence glory distinction, liew kung yu, petronas towers, proton, malaysian astronaut, pohon beringin, wayang kulit, shadow puppet theatre, medeka, demon king rawana


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