IT ALL started with a message on social media websites asking people to send their artistic interpretations of the Year of the Horse on postcards.
Over 1,000 entries were received via email, snail-mail and courier packages by the initiator of the project, Alfa International College Sdn Bhd.
Participants came from 16 countries, including Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Germany, Iran, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, to name a few. They ranged in age from four to 80 years.
Their works are now on display at the Subang Jaya college.
“We are used to seeing calligraphy and ink paintings of zodiac animals during Chinese New Year. We wanted to see how different people from around the world view the Year of the Horse through art,” said Alfa College student affairs executive Koh Sim Hoo, who initiated the project.
“Almost every postcard design has a story to tell while some have very meaningful messages,” said Koh. Among his favourites is one sent in by a 14-year-old boy who drew a picture of a bride and groom, and superimposed equine heads on their bodies.
Below the drawing was a message which read ‘get married immediately’.
The Chinese characters for the ‘horse’ (ma) is the same as that for the word immediately’ (ma shang).
Both bride and groom are also depicted holding on to one end of a horse shoe in the picture.
“It is amazing how a young boy can come up with such a design and interpretation,” said Koh.
Another notable entry was sent by Alfa College’s alumnus from Kepong, whose message read ‘Mothers are the best, Happy New Year and give me ang pow’.
In Chinese, the word mother (mama) is similar to the word for horse.
“The hidden message is that mothers give out ang pow,” said Koh with a laugh.
One of the most unique cards also happened to be the first one received.
On it is a picture of the horse, cut out from the Taiwan dollar with a message which reads ‘Money is Coming Immediately’ (Chien Ma Shang Tao).
While some of the entries were beautifully drawn and painted, others used their sewing, craft or even computer design skills.
“My mum’s maid stitched the picture of a horse on cardboard,” noted Koh.
An Indonesian entry had the image of a horse digitally drawn which looked like tree roots and branches to signify the horse being born.
“More entries are coming in and we will display all submissions received until the end of this month,” he said.
To take it a step further, the college’s school of visual communication lecturer Tee Song Yann has got a group of students to make a video out of the postcards.
“We love the designs so much and thought it would be a good idea to make a video out of it,” he said.
It took them three weeks to produce the three-minute clip.
Student Shadow Ong Poh Lim said they came up with a fairy tale where the prince saves the princess while riding a horse.
“We wanted to come up with a universal story that everyone could relate to rather than just have a Chinese New Year message,” he said.
Apart from this, Alfa College also got their students to create 3D horse models, which are displayed on its premises.
Some used materials like cardboard as well as balloons and paper.
One of the more creative designs of a Trojan Horse was made by students Daphne Loh, Ong Boon Ping and Sherry Chong.
It took them three days to make the horse out of cardboard with several origami horses placed below the main horse.
“The message is West-meets-East, with horses from the West coming here to celebrate Chinese New Year,” said Boon Ping.
The works can be viewed by the public, with plans to display them in several shopping centres in the future.