A 17 metre-long ship traverses the hall, suspended. As if emerging from the sea floor, it unloads hundreds of books sealed in beeswax. This is the imagined vessel steered by the first Malay king, Dapunta Hyang Sri Jayanasa of the 7th-century Srivijayan Empire.
Haunting, mysterious, full of magic and beauty is Zai Kuning’s vessel of the Srivijayan Empire, an artistic re-imagination of the voyage of Dapunta Hyang Sri Jayanasa who is believed to be the first ruler of the Malay Kingdom in the 7th Century. A masterpiece that has journeyed through Hong Kong, Paris and most recently to the 57th Venice Biennale, DAPUNTA HYANG: TRANSMISSION OF KNOWLEDGE is a culmination of an ongoing body of work that investigates Malay history and culture through the lesser-known narratives of the orang laut (sea people). It has successfully brought Malay cultural history and Singapore’s relationship to the larger Riau Archipelago onto the international stage.
In the homecoming of this highly-acclaimed work to be presented at 72-13, Singapore audiences will experience a multi-disciplinary exhibition that traces a 19-year long journey that has taken Zai Kuning to encounter the orang laut (sea people), mak yong (ancient Malay opera), and the lost world of the Malay maritime kingdom. This journey started with a residency by TheatreWorks (Singapore) in 2001. Surrounding the exhibition in Singapore will be live performances by Zai Kuning and collaborating musicians, talks by experts, and the screening of a new film that captures Zai Kuning’s extraordinary sojourn in search of our regional history.
Through the synthesis of forgotten histories and a living tradition on the verge of disappearance, Zai Kuning communicates the urgent need to resurface questions on how knowledge has been transmitted, manipulated and directed across time and space to inform us of our present reality.
Presented by TheatreWorks (Singapore) and 72-13, with support from National Arts Council (of Singapore) and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.
Dapunta Hyang: Transmission of Knowledge
72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road
12 April – 13 May 2018
12pm to 7pm
Tuesdays to Sundays