Mixed-media installation; cut out books, calligraphy ink on paper

The Asli and Bunian 
of Tangkak

The Asli and Bunian of Tangkak is an immersive installation simulating a conversation about the worlds in our Southeast Asian region. Centring on stories from the people of Tangkak, the installation encapsulates an intriguing world that often escapes our sight. 

The Asli and Bunian of Tangkak draw inspiration from the quiet alliance between the Orang Asli (Indigenous peoples of Malaysia) and Orang Bunian (whistling or hidden people). The Asli believes the Bunian to be guardians of the forest, keeping the balance of the habitats they share. While the Bunian is a myth community existing in an abstracted dimension mirroring ours, the Asli, faces ongoing displacement from their lands.

Unpacking the legends related to the Gunung of Ledang, and the different variations of stories told by its people, The Asli and Bunian of Tangkak emphasises myth-making as a creative fortification tool by Indigenous people to protect their lands.

Alysha Rahmat Shah, The Asli and Bunian of Tangkak, 2021, mixed-media installation. Between the Living and the Archive, 9 – 28 March 2021, installation view. Photography by Ruey Loon.

© Between the Living and the Archive • 2021