Nurul Sabrina Shahbuddin Elman
LASALLE College of the Arts
Children of the Soil is an avant-garde film that performs a poetic depiction of how an individual identifies himself with the Three Pillars of Malayness: Language, Religion and Royalty. Loosely adapted from journals of renowned artist Latiff Mohidin as he develops his ‘Pago-Pago’ series, this film is a reinterpretation of the Malay identity, manifested through exaggerated imagery and strong symbolism. The term “Malayless” refers to the ethnic group of Malays, the first settlers of Singapore. This film is the fruit of a year-long research into the Malay cultural presence in pre- and post-independent Singapore; investigation was carried out on material culture, social history and Malay films produced in the Golden Age of Malay Cinema during the 1960s. This film seeks to shed light onto the obscured histories that make the Malay identity, as well as spark conversations about the myriad of ways Malayness can be projected in my home country. Comprising of self-created sets, costumes, and an exclusively curated sound track from Malay films of the 60s, I present to you a visual euphony of the diverse symbols that lie in my heritage.