Red Hong Yi designs Pos Malaysia stamp series to celebrate frontliners


Red Hong Yi posing with her 'Covid-19 Frontliners' stamp series, which is a collaboration with Pos Malaysia. The series pays tribute to the country's heroic frontliners who are fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Handout

Contemporary artist Red Hong Yi (known as Red) is stamping her mark once again, this time literally with a series of stamps.

The Covid-19 Frontliners series, a collaboration between Red and Pos Malaysia, is out today to celebrate and pay homage to our country’s frontliners.

This new Pos Malaysia collection features a set of four stamps, First Day Cover, a folder set and an envelope. The art in the series includes a nurse, a doctor, a policeman, an army personnel and a Pos Laju rider.

“It’s such a huge honour to create stamps featuring our country’s frontliners. This is the least I can do as an artist to thank them for all that they’ve done for us during the pandemic.

“I only have these words to say... thank you!” says Red, a Sabah-born multidisciplinary artist, who has a portfolio spanning non-conventional installations, portraits and more recently, NFT crypto art.

The 'Covid-19 Frontliners' series features a set of four stamps. Photo: HandoutThe 'Covid-19 Frontliners' series features a set of four stamps. Photo: Handout

Red turned over 5,000 pieces of Pos Malaysia’s Setem Ku stamps into collages of the featured frontliners.

“For each of these stamps, if you take a look at them, all their patterns are different and I really wanted to highlight what was going on within, like the images that were going on within these stamps,” she shares.

The stamp sheet also comes with a special invisible ink printing of Covid-19 that is only visible under ultraviolet light.

Red's collaboration with the national postal service was inked after her pandemic-era series of anti-racism portraits titled I Am Not A Virus in April last year caught the attention of Pos Malaysia.

Red, now based in Kuala Lumpur, worked remotely together with artists friends Wilson Ng and Alvin Chung for three months to finalise the Pos Malaysia designs and then with Andrew Yeoh, another artist friend, who helped her in the creation process of the collage portraits.

Red and Yeoh clocked in 10 hours daily in the final week of the two-month creation process to wrap up this project.

“The feeling at the time with my fellow artist friends was to support each other and to create meaningful projects to support and encourage others during these strange and challenging times,” says Red.

The 'Covid-19 Frontliners' series includes a nurse, a doctor, a policeman, a postman and an army personnel. Photo: HandoutThe 'Covid-19 Frontliners' series includes a nurse, a doctor, a policeman, a postman and an army personnel. Photo: Handout

Known for her use of unusual media and material when it comes to installations, Red has been one of the trailblazing names in the Malaysian art scene in these pandemic times.

In July, Red sold her Doge To The Moon non-fungible token (NFT) in an online auction for 36.3 ETH (valued at RM325, 000), touted to be the most expensive NFT sold by a Malaysian artist at that time. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Mercy Malaysia’s Covid-19 pandemic relief fund. She will also be using the money to initiate a series of community art projects here.

In April, Red created an image that was part sculpture, part performance art in Kuala Lumpur, which was featured on the cover of the April 26 Climate Change issue of Time magazine. She and her team constructed a 2.3m x 3m world map out of 50, 000 green-tipped matchsticks, and torched it.

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