UNIVERSITY of Nottingham Malaysia professor of Modern English Literature with the School of English Prof Malachi Edwin Vethamani was recently invited to work with a group of Fashion Design and Graphic Design diploma students at Saito University College, Petaling Jaya.
Saito University College deputy vice-chancellor Dr Vinitha Guptan who is familiar with Prof Malachi’s work as a poet and writer, thought it was good idea for the students to work with him.
‘I wanted them to experience reading his poems and coming up with some designs. This would be a meaningful way to use what they were studying and developing their design skills, ” she said.
Project coordinator Nikki Lee welcomed the idea and pitched it to the lecturer Steven Chong for one of the university’s General Studies subjects.
“The students have to do a project for a final year module which required them to work with the community.
“This year they are raising funds for the Malaysian Nature Society.
“I thought it was good if our students worked with Prof Malachi and come up with designs for bookmarks and postcards using lines from his poems, ” she said.
Chong arranged for his students to meet Prof Malachi so that they could share their interpretations of his poems and discuss how they would design their artwork.
“The students were initially shy when they met me but they soon got over that feeling and started talking about the poems they would be working on, ” said Prof Malachi.
The students worked on their artwork over four weeks and finally came up with their designs. Another meeting was organised with the poet so that he could see the final artwork.
During their meeting, the 20 students each explained their artwork and presented him with a set.
“I was really excited to see how these young people had interpreted my poems and designed the bookmarks and postcards, ” said Prof Malachi.
One of the students’ artwork that immediately caught his attention was by Ian Lim.
“Such a short poem but somehow it left a big impact.
“Emotion is a human’s most valuable gift and it could lift or drag us up or down, ” said Lim when describing his response to the poem and how he came up with his design for the postcard and bookmark.
The students’ postcards and bookmarks were printed and they worked with the Malaysian Nature Society. They set up stalls to sell them to the public.
“I was very excited at the way the whole project has turned out.
“I appreciated their concerns for the environment and their enthusiasm to raise funds for a good cause.
“This is certainly an important learning experience the students can take into their adult and working life, ” said Prof Malachi.
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