Deja Vu: Planet of the Apes

The images coming out of Del Rio, Texas of US border guards on horseback charging at a group Haitian migrants, using horse reins to threaten and, seemingly, to strike them brought two thoughts to my mind. The first was that the image of white men in western hats using horses to threaten and herd dark skinned Haitians carried “echoes of the historical injustices suffered by black people in the US.” The second was something I could not quite pin down. It seemed like something I had already seen, a Déjà vu image from my own childhood experience. And then it came to me in a flash – The Planet of the Apes! I was struck by the cruelty of the chase scenes in that movie when I first saw them on our black and white TV as a child in Malaysia. I am equally struck by the cruelty signified in the recent images from the USA. I hear the horns of the film’s soundtrack blaring again!



11 Cukur Janggut

11 Cukur Janggut, Koboi Balik Kampung, 2015

The Koboi Project begins with the Koboi’s return to Kuala Lumpur in 2013 after a decade away in Vancouver. This homecoming was treated both as lived experience and as an enactment. This return was photographed and became the first Koboi series, titled Koboi Balik Kampung, published in 2015.

My essay contextualizing this project, titled The Koboi Project: diasporic Artist… diasporic Art, is included in Interlaced Journey: Diaspora and the Contemporary in Southeast Asian Art edited by Patrick D. Flores & Loredana Pazzini-Paracciani.

Encounter with Rahu

rahu candleIn the Hindu/Buddhist cosmos, eclipses are conceived of and anticipated in terms of the points of intersection of the paths of the Sun and the Moon as they move across the sky.  Rahu is the name for the north lunar node which, in mythological representation, is the Asura (Demon) Rahu who  regularly swallows and ejects the sun, causing its cyclic obscuration. In Thai custom, Phra Rahu, who is considered to be the essence of darkness and the harbinger of ill fortune, is ritually placated with various black offerings that are believed to mitigate his maleficence. People make offerings  of black grapes, black liqueur, black coffee beans, black jelly, black beans, black sticky rice, black Thai cake and black fermented eggs. In the course of my performance, at the Huai Khwang Shrine, I lit a black candle for him and then made a special offering Black herbal jelly in the form of  the Suriyan (the Sun) or as he is know in Thailand, Phra Athit.


カウボーイズとインディアンズ: 東京版


カウボーイズとインディアンズ: 東京版
コートヤード・ヒロ: 2018年5月11日午後7
〒106-0031 東京都港区西麻布 4-21-2
Courtyard Hiroo: 7pm 11th May 2018
4-21-2 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 106-0031 JAPAN
Tel. +81-3-6427-1185

The Koboi Project is series of a photo-conceptual performances, involving photographic images, traditional icons, story telling, collaboration and conviviality. For Cowboys and Indians: Tokyo Edition at Courtyard Hiroo, Niranjan Rajah will present an 18ft banner of Tamil movie SUPERSTAR Rajinikanth and an antique Momotaro doll made by the Kyugetsu Company. He will make an offering to the SUPERSTAR, to Momotaro-san and then, to one member of the audience. The visionary film critic and promoter Fumio Furuya (a.k.a. Jun Edoki), who is responsible for introducing Rajinikanth to Japan, has accepted an invitation to attend as an honoured guest. A scaled down version of the performance will be taken around the city for a series of impromptu interventions between the 7th and the 10th of May 2018, starting in Nishi-Kasai, Tokyo’s Little India. Niranjan will be accompanied by: Hiroyoshi Takeda – Autokaran, Chef; Tara Rajah – Cello; Jane Frankish – Poems on the Megaphone; Mikan Bindu (leader and choreographer) Hiroyoshi Takeda, Shinji Kashima, Hiroyo Yamaguchi, Saki Ito, Emiko Sawada, Yumiko Honda, Shinya Asanuma – SANDOSHAM Indian Movie Dance; Durga Rajah – Photography. For more information please visit: