Pipinya bagai pauh dilayang …. During the opening reception of the Dari Pusat Tasek exhibition at Percha Artspace, Lumut Waterfront on 25 Dec 2019, I had the privilege of serving kueh pauh dilayang to my dear friend Nur Hanim Khairuddin. Hanim is Co-director of the Malaysian Art Archive and Research Support, General Manager for PORT (a Perak state creative agency) and Artistic Director of the Ipoh International Arts Festival 2019. I have known Hanim, since the late 1990’s when she was working for the Pekan Seni Ipoh and we were reunited more recently, when she presented the Koboi Project as part of the Malaysia section of the Singapore Biennale 2016.
The Dari Pusat Tasek show runs at the Percha Art Space in Lumut till the 5th Jan 2020 (EXTENDED TILL 19 JAN 2020) .
In the Hikayat Jaya Langkara, a quest for the healing saffron flower leads the Princess Ratna Kasina to a mountain at the pusat tasek where the rising tide brings the miraculous flower up within her reach. While there is no mention of the Pokok Pauh Janggi in this fable, the buah Pauh appears twice in the list of similes used to extoll the beauty of Princess. Princess Ratna Kasina is said to have cheeks like sliced mango (pipi-nya saperti pauh di-layang), and heels like turned (or peeled) mango (tumit-nya saperti pauh di-larek).
For the opening reception of the show at Percha Art Space, Percha Director, Suhaila Hashim, steamed her first Kueh Pauh Dilayang after experimenting with recipes found online. The cake was sliced (dilayang) and served to locate the mango within Malay mythology and aesthetics, and to articulate the core symbolism of the Dari Pusat Tasek happening which includes –
- a performance based the mythic realities of the ‘navel of the seas’ or the Pusat Tasik Pauh Janggi.
- a gallery installation featuring the Koboi Balik Kampung series of 12 photographic prints and presents an autobiographical take on the complexities of contemporary Malaysian art and society.
- and the serving of this rare Kelantan sweet – the Kueh Pauh Dilayang.