BERITAmediacorp: The way of life of SG Islanders & the invention of 'new paper' became the inspiration for these final year students at LASALLE College of the Arts

17 May 2023
Media Coverage

Zuhaira Syaza Amir Khaled's work for this year's The LASALLE Show Exhibition entitled 'Siapa Aku' highlights the way of life of the Islanders in the past and is very close to her heart.

This is because the final year BA(Hons) Design Communication student found out that she is of island descent herself.

"Whilst choosing the topic for this final year project, I developed an interest in the life and ways of life of the islanders before 1970," Zuhaira told BERITAmediacorp.

Got to know she is of island descent


Photo: BERITAmediacorp/Nazirah Jamzuri

'Siapa Aku' uses a very detailed storytelling process as well as research carried out at several levels involving various parties, including former island residents of this country.

She heard for herself the experiences of two former residents of Pulau Sudong known as 'Tok Ahmad' and 'Tok Hamzah'.

"I found out that before 1970, Pulau Sudong, Semakau, Sekijang and Seking held a sports event called the ‘Pesta Sukan 5S’, whereby they would compete in sea sports with one another every year," according to Zuhaira.


Left most: Zuhaira’s late grandmother (Photo: Zuhaira Syaza Amir Khaled)

Unexpectedly, she came across an old picture of her late grandmother while she was living on Bukom Kechil Island.

"I also found out that my late grandmother used to be from Bukom Kechil Island. So that was the most interesting thing for me, to find out that I am a descendant of the Islanders," said Zuhaira.


Zuhaira’s late great-grandmother (Photo: Zuhaira Syaza Amir Khaled)
Photographs of her ancestors living on the island as well as the way of life of the people such as making traps or fish traps are now immortalised.
'Siapa Aku' is a collection of two books and two films about the island people's way of life that were self-recorded.


Photo: BERITA Mediacorp/Nazirah Jamzuri
"In most of the Southern islands that we know today, a lot has changed and many of the former inhabitants of these islands have all moved to the mainland now. Most of their cultural heritage is gone, so it is very important to highlight this issue of their transition.

"I hope more people will know about the Islanders and help preserve their heritage," Zuhaira tells BERITAmediacorp.

Explore the making of ‘new’ paper from old & used paper


Photo: BERITAmediacorp/Nazirah Jamzuri
Another student who will display her artwork is Dian Wahyuni R. Azmann, 24 years old.
In the work entitled 'What Once Was', the final year student of the BA(Hons) Fine Arts programme explores the art of paper making to create ‘new’ paper from used ones.
"I take old paper or those that are no longer needed and make new paper. This project is about the memories embedded in those papers and the possessions we keep," Dian shares with BERITAmediacorp.


Photo: Dian Wahyuni R. Azmann
At the same time, the final paper produced is also a ‘memory lane’ with various old books such as textbooks and old recipe books used in its production.
"The challenge I faced was making a paper of this size, two metres long, and the tools I used were small, but I still tried and thank God, it materialised," says Dian.


Photo: Dian Wahyuni R. Azmann
"The most interesting thing I discovered was that I can see the paintings or writings of whoever used to own these items," she adds.
It is important to try not to waste when producing art


Photo: Dian Wahyuni R. Azmann
Dian wants to contribute to the preservation of the environment, especially through the art she produces.
"It is important for us not to waste when we make anything and in this art, I try not to waste as much as possible even though it is really difficult to do good for our environment. But I think it is important for us to try," said Dian.
The LASALLE Show Exhibition 2023 features over 600 works by final year students of the Diploma, BA(Hons) and postgraduate programmes at LASALLE College of the Arts.
It opens on Friday (19 May) and runs until the end of the month in the galleries at LASALLE's McNally Campus.
In addition to the physical exhibition, an online exhibition will also launch on Thursday (18 May).

Watch the interview on BERITAmediacorp