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Malaysian papercutting artist catches Netflix's attention for CNY artwork

Malaysian papercutting artist catches Netflix's attention for CNY artwork

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Netflix has collaborated with marketing platform Mash, and Malaysian papercutting artist Eten Teo to create a piece of cultural artwork to celebrate Lunar New Year for Netflix viewers across Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Mash curated a virtual creative studio which brings together seven creatives from its global network, each with a deep and authentic cultural connection to Asia. The final piece was inspired by the artwork of Eten Teo in order to create an artwork that spoke to the true essence of Lunar New Year. Framed by auspicious elements such as fish (abundance), coins (wealth) and peonies (prosperity), the piece reveals a cross-generational family celebrating Lunar New Year. It is a mish-mash of the myriad tiny yet meaningful familial interactions.

The final artwork will make become a mainstay on Netflix screens for the duration of the holiday.

Teo’s papercut piece marks the first time a physical artwork has been digitised to be featured on a local moment on Netflix, which is a specially-curated collection of titles that celebrates seasonal moments or social events that are important to local audiences.

Teo said that he was usually the one helping to decorate his house as a child, making this piece a milestone for him and his craft. “It is not the most neat and perfect in terms of technical aspects, but it shows the different movements and expressions of each character. When it's placed in the context of paper-cutting art, it's a relatively new art style,” he added.

The director of creative services at Mash and the project lead, Rich Akers, said that building virtual creative studio and partnering with an artist like Eten to deliver such an ambitious vision is a rare opportunity. “We were honoured to have been invited to collaborate on this uniquely personal project. Our Virtual Creative Studio team, spanning 15 countries, and I have spent a lot of our professional careers looking for projects like this, opportunities to leverage our histories and heritage in such a rewarding way,” he added.

In November last year, Netflix made a step further in luring in Chinese-speaking subscribers by introducing a slate of Chinese-language films and drama series from Hong Kong and Taiwan, after it has been prohibited from entering the mainland Chinese entertainment market. The slate includes Taiwanese fantasy series “Agent From Above and Taiwanese LGBTQ+ show “The Nipple Talk,” which was produced by Sequoia Entertainment and directed by Lincoln Lai.

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