As We See It: History Through Visual Design @ National Art Gallery

After celebrating the opening of a physical space earlier this year, the enterprising Malaysia Design Archive stages an exhibition at Reka Gallery. Objects with distinct elements of graphic design are demarcated into three timeframes – colonial British Malaya, the Japanese Occupation, and from post-WWII to Malayan independence. Looking at product advertisements and public service announcements, I was struck by the vivid red and yellow hues that appear in many exhibits. Were these colours used for printing because it was cheap? Or has its enduring properties render these objects more attractive for exhibiting and preservation purposes? Are cinema billboard paintings – like Mr. Vampire – not peddled as nostalgic collectibles, because painted pigments fade faster than printed colours? 

Cinema billboard for Mr. Vampire 新僵尸先生 (1992)