Voyage of Freedom Series 1 • Acrylic on canvas • 152 x 91.5 cm • 5ft x 3ft • 2020 • by artjamila
From when we were colonised by the British to gaining independence, this painting tells the history of Malaysia from the 1700s to the new millennium 2020. During the British colonisation, the people of Malaya (Malay, Chinese, Indian) and the British army are assimilated together with the British flags. When the Federated Malay States (FMS) was formed in 1896, the FMS flags were added to the weaving flags together with the British flags in the background.
In 1800 to 1941, our trading ports expanded, bringing further influence from foreign countries. The demand for tin and rubber during times of war in 1800 greatly increased our country’s profits. The tin mining dredger and rubber tapping activity are seen in this episode.
Since our country was rich in such resources, Japan invaded Malaya and occupied our country till the late 20th century in 1945. The sadness of the people of Malaya are seen with the background of the Japanese flags and the Japanese army. After Japan lost their power over Malaya, the British regained control and Onn Jaafar formed the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) in 1946 to sought independence from Britain. In the background, all the three flags (British, FMS and UMNO) are weaved together with the people of Malaya.
Malaya gained independence in 1957 under the first prime minister of our country, Tunku Abdul Rahman (“Bapa Kemerdekaan Malaysia”). Malaya’s name was changed to Malaysia. The assimilation of the Malaysian flag with 11 stripes can be seen with the three major ethnics of Malaysia (Malay, Chinese, Indian) in the painting.
In 1963, after the merging of Sabah and Sarawak into our country, we can see Malaysia’s 5 ethnics together with the Malaysian flag of 14 stripes. Due to differences in political and economic views, Singapore left Malaysia in 1965. Malaysia continue to develop under the leadership of our Prime Ministers from 1970 to 2020:
- Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, Bapa Pembangunan Malaysia,
- Tun Hussein Onn, Bapa Perpaduan Malaysia (Bersatu Maju),
- Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Bapa Pemodenan Malaysia (Wawasan 2020),
- Tun Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Bapa Pembangunan Modal Insan Malaysia (Perpaduan Teras Kejayaan),
- Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Bapa Transformasi Malaysia (Satu Malaysia),
- Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Bapa Pemodenan Malaysia (Sayangi Malaysiaku), and finally,
- Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Bapa Prihatin (Malaysia Prihatin).