When it comes to celebrating diversity and unity, we likely hear “I don’t see color” comments among Malaysians.
For Fay, Rachel and John, celebrating the multiculturalism of color blind Malaysians was not a good fit for them.
Fei shared in an interview with the Vulcan Post: “For us, the beauty of being multicultural Malaysia should not be diluted into shades of gray because our colors are where beauty is.”
So, in 2016, the trio decided to turn their vision into reality Rojac project, A series of concept artworks showcasing Malaysian food to their friends.
Use Nasi Lemak to draw portraits
Their project started with a big gathering of some friends, which they call the Rojac Party.
“I realized that the only thing we could all relate to is food.” Fei explained that our food has always been a gesture of peace allowing us to sit down, eat and enjoy each other’s company despite our differences.
30 people invited to the gathering came to mingle and have a meal together, and their pictures were later taken by John.
Their photos were then printed in black and white, and the outlines were traced using a variety of Malaysian dishes such as char-koi tiyo, nasi limak, roti kanai, etc.
Besides heavy meals like this one, it also included local delicacies like morocco, prawn biscuits, sere mocha, and egg waffles as well as local fruits like rambutan and mangosteen. All of these were bought themselves.
“When you see the pictures, no matter how many times you try to guess their” race, “I can tell you that you’ll understand them more often because you’ll be surprised at how mixed up they are.”
When people try to guess, I will always say ‘no’ until someone says, ‘Malaysian,’ then I’ll answer ‘yes,’
To fund these events, the founders will reach out to their friends, family, and other contacts to ask if they are willing to help.
Desire to include more “Lain-Lain” in their work
the term Others For Fei, she initially meant ethnic groups she already knew, such as Portuguese and Punjabis, but not the indigenous Malays.
Hence, they decide to travel to all 13 states to correct this and shoot a documentary while continuing with the food art images.
During their travels, they managed to produce 540 pictures of Malaysians they met along the way, and added more dishes from different states to their art of food.
Part of their travel goals was also to compile lists of the various ethnic groups that would otherwise have been classified OthersUnder what they call Nation of Rojac.
The majority of the information they gathered in these lists consisted of ethnic groups indigenous to Sabah and Sarawak, as well as the locations of these ethnic groups in their states.
One of their biggest milestones in this mission was being featured on Drew Binsky’s US video blog Video When he visited Malaysia. He has made videos of his travels to 194 countries across the world so far.
When he came here, Fei and one of the members of The Rojak Projek went to KLCC hoping to share their work with him but to their surprise, he was already informed of their work.
They even managed to get an interview with him, which made them A. Shout On his Facebook page.
Work continues despite COVID-19
As part of their goal to spread more awareness about being less color blind towards our diversity, they have also taken their artwork to various galleries in the country.
So far, they have worked on cooperating with Maybank, RIUH, Grab, Sunway University, Pakatan Harapan and more.
Speaking of which, they have also collaborated with RIUH and The One Academy on a Video series The movie shows Orang Asli of Kampung Sungai Buloh and their stories.
Since their work is mostly done while traveling and includes taking pictures of people and holding personal exhibitions, it is difficult for them to get funding now and continue doing the work they did before the pandemic.
Hence, meanwhile, Fei is working towards securing international cooperation to showcase her food art and her mission to do so.
As of now, only Fei is running The Rojak Projek full time, while Rachel and John are no longer involved but still support the cause.
- You can learn more about The Rojak Projek Here.
- You can read more from the social institutions we wrote Here.
Featured image credit: Faye Lim, The Rojak Projek Foundation