Now this is one shadow puppet that is definitely not content to stay in the shadows.
Wayang kulit revivalists Fusion Wayang Kulit has unveiled a wayang kulit shadow puppet of Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, to celebrate the PM’s 93rd birthday yesterday (July 10).
Creative designers Tintoy Chuo and Take Huat are the founders of Fusion Wayang Kulit, which is best known for its wayang kulit depictions of pop culture icons such as Star War characters and Marvel and DC superheroes.
In a Facebook post, Chuo said that although Dr M has achieved so much, he likes to “keep things simple and minimal” and is often dressed in a simple grey suit, which made it harder to come up with a design for the puppet.
“Wayang kulit characters always have very detailed patterns, so I had a hard time trying to convert his suit as it was too simple,” he wrote in the post. “In the end, I managed to add in just enough elements/patterns to make him look ‘wayang kulit’ yet while maintaining the slick minimalist look of his suit.”
Chuo also incorporated details commemorating Dr M’s achievement of being the fourth AND the seventh Prime Minister of Malaysia. “I wanted to add this information into the character, so I came up with the idea of drawing his unique left pocket to look like the number ‘7’, with two pens hanging out to represent him being PM twice,” he writes. “In term of shoes, I have him wearing simple low-cost Bata sandals, due to the story about it that went viral not long ago.”
As for the background, Chuo used two different colours to represent different eras in Malaysia’s history. “The surrounding is in cold colours which represent the previous situation Malaysia was in, where it was and hopeless,” he writes. “The warm colour around his hand represents the current stage, with Dr Mahathir giving us hope and leading us to a bright future.”