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TIME Magazine picks Malaysian artist to create cover for climate change issue

TIME Magazine picks Malaysian artist to create cover for climate change issue

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TIME Magazine recently worked with Malaysian contemporary artist Red Hong Yi to create a cover for its April 2021 issue on climate change. According to Hong, she and her team spent two weeks sticking matchsticks non-stop for eight hours a day and watched the piece burn down in two minutes. TIME said lighting the artwork on fire represented how the global climate crisis is impacting everyone, no matter where we are.

She explained that the idea stemmed from wanting the showcase a world map where everyone is involved, and if one place is impacted, everywhere else is too, TIME said. At the end of the day, Hong also wanted to bring up the fact that while it can take a long while for something to build up, it can also be destroyed really quickly. The world map is 7.5 x 10-foot and contains 50,000 green-tipped matchsticks.

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According to Hong, the matchsticks' dimensions and positions were created on a computer before laser cutting the holes onto the board. The team subsequently inserted each of the matchsticks by hand. Layers of fire retardant paint were also sprayed onto the board to ensure the fire did not engulf the whole piece, TIME said. At the same time, Hong and her team also placed the matchsticks at different heights for topographic effect. TIME said never has a work of art "been so drastically transformed in the process" during the 100 years of its covers.

Hong first went viral in 2012 when she posted a video of her dribbling a basketball to create a portrait of former NBA player Yao Ming.

Hong is certainly not the first Malaysian artist to have been recognised for her talent. In 2019, Malaysian artist Allan Kwah was selected by DC Comics to design a limited-edition Batman comic. The issue was a store variant commissioned by online store The Comic Mint, and a total of 600 copies were made available for purchase across all its partner sites. Kwah is a comic artist and founder at Komikaki Studio, a comic art and digital colouring company based in Kuala Lumpur.

Photo courtesy: Red Hong Yi's online portfolio

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