Red Hong Yi showcases artwork tea-ming with Malaysian culture

Red Hong Yi with her latest artwork, Teh Tarik Man. - Photo by Jeremy Blode

Red Hong Yi with her latest artwork, Teh Tarik Man. - Photo by Jeremy Blode

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian artist 'Red' Hong Yi revealed her latest artwork tea-ming with Malaysian culture, aptly titled Teh Tarik Man.

Hong was commissioned to work on a piece about Malaysia to be showcased at the World Economic Forum on Jan 24, and decided base the artwork on an everyday scene that reminded her of home.

"Teh Tarik (literally 'pulled-tea' in Malay) is a drink served in local coffeeshops that is sweet, frothy and milky, and is frothed up when tea is poured between two containers," said Hong in a statement.

The Sabah-born artist said that the drink was a reflection of Malaysia's culture as; "locals gather in kopitiams and mamak (shops), and here they talk about where to buy the best durians, the traffic, politics, weather and soccer".

"It is a drink that brings people together and I hope that I am able to share a bit of my country's culture through this piece," she said.

Photo by Jeremy Blode

Hong used 20,000 teabags to illustrate a man preparing teh tarik in the background, with soft drink cans and a ice-shaving machine as props in the foreground.

The teabags were stained in 10 different shades of brown by steeping the bags in hot water, while darker tones were obtained by colouring them with brown food dye.

All the bags were then meticulously stapled together and attached onto tiles of wire mesh, then hung from a wooden frame.

She spent about two months planning, sourcing, creating and filming this piece.

Hong is known for her YouTube videos of her creating beautiful art pieces using everyday materials like basketballs, chopsticks and food items.

Her breakthrough project came in Jan 2012 when she used a basketball dipped in red paint to create a portrait of former Chinese NBA superstar Yao Ming.

Red Hong Yi , Teh Tarik Man , Art