Estou em Lisboa para apresentar um trabalho intitulado The Koboi Project: Desenvolvendo Engajamentos Transloculares nas Arenas de Arte Transnacionais na 14ª Conferência Internacional sobre as Artes da Sociedade, Lisboa, junho de 2019. Neste artigo, discuto uma obra intitulad ‘Kaza Nunteng Porta.’ Também estarei realizando uma série de intervenções de rua improvisadas em Belém. Fique atento para o Koboi no e Jardim da Praça Afonso de Albuquerque e ao redor do Monumento aos Descobrimentos entre 22 e 30 de junho de 2019.
I am in Lisbon to present a paper titled The Koboi Project: Developing Translocal Engagements within Transnational Art Arenas at the 14th International Conference on The Arts in Society, Lisbon, June 2019. In this paper I discuss a work titled ‘Kaza Nunteng Porta. I will also be performing a series of impromptu street interventions in Belem. Watch out for the Koboi at the e Jardim da Praça Afonso de Albuquerque and around the Monument to the Discoveries between 22nd and 30th June 2019.
‘Kaza Nunteng Porta’, significa ‘Casa Sem Porta´ em Kristang (língua Portuguesa Malaca). É o título da nona série do Projeto Koboi. Nesta série, o Koboi aborda as conexões culturais, históricas e sociais entre Lisboa e Malaca, enquanto tenta colocar esta relação no contexto dos movimentos de diáspora e globalização. As fotografias desta série foram tiradas em Belém, Lisboa e Ujong Pasir, Malaca. Belém é o porto de qual os portugueses partiram nas suas aventuras marítimas pioneiras, enquanto Ujong Pasir é o local do Assentamento Português em Malaca, o último vestígio de uma das tais aventuras.
Kaza Nunteng Porta’, means ‘House Without a Door’ in Kristang (Malacca Portuguese language). It is the title of the 9th series in the Koboi Project. In this series the Koboi addresses the cultural, historical, social and connections between Lisbon and Malacca, while attempting to set this relationship within the context of diasporic movements and globalization. The photographs in this series were shot in Belem, Lisbon and in Ujong Pasir, Malacca. Belem is the port from which the Portuguese set sail on their pioneering maritime adventures and Ujong Pasir is the site of the Portuguese Settlement in Malacca – all that remains of the legacy of one of those adventures.
So what is the significance of Malaca (Portuguese), or Malacca (English) or, indeed, Melaka (Bahasa Melayu)? Founded around the 1400 by Raja Parameswara, later known as Raja Iskandar Shah, the Melaka Sultanate rose to the height of its power towards the end of the 15th Century. At this time, the Melaka suzerainty extended over most of the Malay Peninsula, the Riau Islands and parts of the Eastern coast of Sumatra. The port of Melaka, strategically located, as it is, at the mid-point of the Straits of Melaka, became one of the most important trading ports in the world. Melaka’s place in the geo-political paradigm of the day was exemplified in the oft-cited line by Portuguese explorer and apothecary Tomé Pires, “Whoever is lord of Malacca has his hand on the throat of Venice” – Venice being Europe’s centre of global trade.
While the Portuguese attained this prize in 1511, they killed the golden goose, so to speak! Other trading centers like Acheh, Banten, Bandjarmasin and Brunei arose in the Malay Archipelago and displaced the now Portuguese-controlled Melaka which was unenterprising and decidedly antagonistic to Muslim traders. Melaka never regained its place as the port of choice in the Straits of Melaka during the Colonial era. The British chose to develop Penang and Singapore and given Singapore’s astronomical ascendancy in the post-colonial era (Singapore was according to 2017 statistics the 2nd busiest port in the world), as well as Malaysia’s own development of Ports in Kelang, Johor, Tanjung Pelepas, Kuantan, Penang, Bintulu and Kemaman; Melaka has had to accept its status as a glorious historical relic of the past.
‘Malaca Malaca’ is the exclamation that opens the chorus of Fuasto’s ‘A Guerra é a Guerra’ which is a part of his wonderful 1982 album Por Este Rio Acima (Up this River). Fausto took as his source and point of departure for this work, the hyperbolic yet highly philosophical and critical autobiography of ” Fernão Mendes Pinto titled Peregrinação (Pilgrimage) of 1614. Pinto was a Portuguese explorer and adventurer who was stationed in Malacca in the 1530’s.
A guerra é a guerra
No céu e na terra
Nos dentes a faca
Avanço e avanço
A guerra é a guerra
No céu e na terra
This video was directed, scripted and researched by Sudirman Hj. Rosli for Muzium Negara Malaysia in 2007. It tells the story of the Fall of Melaka, the 100 year triangular wars between the Acheh Sultanate, the Johore Riau Empire and Portuguese Melaka, and the ultimate fall of Portuguese Melaka to the combined forces of the Dutch and the Johore Riau Empire.
Jinkli Nona sung with Kristang and Malay verse … How beautiful is the hybridity of traditions in Malaysia and the world! From Branyo to Joget and back again!
Jinkli nona, jinkli nona; yo kereh kazah
kaza nunteng porta nona; klai logu pasah?
Teng kantu teng; kantu teng falah nunteng
amor, minya amor; amor minya korasang
Puluh lapan dan I jauh ketengah
Gunung Lah daik bercabang Tiga
Hancur lah badan I dikandung tanah
Budi yang baik dikenang juga
Tek Kayu Tek Pucuk Pisang bunga Ramping
Or perhaps ‘Post Photo-conceptual Performance’ … a tag I have been developing to locate my practice at the junction of photography and performance. While the tag needs much refinement, I think the praxis itself seems now, after 5 years of the Koboi Project, to be reasonably developed. I had the privilege of delivering a Masterclass in Performance Art as Faculty at the International Ismaili Diamond Jubilee Arts Festival in Lisbon, which ran from the 5-9 July 2018.
In this class, I shared my preparations for two impromptu photo-performances that took place at the Alfonso De Albuquerque Monument and the Discoveries Monument in Belem on 7th and 8th July 2018, respectively. I took the workshop participants, who were amateur and professional artists from the global Ismaili diaspora through my preparations for the two street interventions. They participated in my search for a meaningful action. We began the class within the designated presentation space and finished outside absorbing the architecture Portugal Pavilion and the masterclass itself into the spectacle and symbol of the event. In the light of his exercise and the images it produced, I have clarified for myself the stations of my process and have articulated them in a set of 12 words and images.
UPCOMING: The next Koboi performance will take place at the Discovery monument in Belem, Lisbon between 5.30pm and 7pm, 8th July 2018. For details please visit https://koboibalikkampung.wixsite.com/nuntengporta
In this performance I will attempt to find an image, provisonally titled Ulagam Ulagam. I make reference to another representation of mastery over the world by way of a song from MGR’s Ulagam Suthum Valiban (World Perambulating Young Man), a blockbuster of Tamil cinema from 1973. In the performance I will raise my Pazaham Neeyappa banner with its image of Tamil movie SUPERSTAR Rajinikanth at the sites of the monuments. The audio component of the performance will include Fausto’s A Guerra é a Guerra [fromthe 1982 album Por Este Rio Acima.(Up this River), the Ulagam Ulagam soundtrack, a cello rendition of Jinkli Nona by Tara Rajah, and verses from Kalau Roboh Kota Melaka and Ulagam Ulagam spoken in Portuguese by Hugo Moss. Jane Frankish will read selections from her Poems on the megaphone. Cards presenting the state flag of Melaka will be distributed.
Azhagu kalaigalin surangam
Paruva chilaigalin arangam
A cavern of beautiful art
A hall of youthful forms
Time … advance on me
Love … come seek me
Uma caverna de arte bela
Um salão de formas joviais
Tempo… avança em mim
Amor…venha me procurar
அழகு கலைகளின் சுரங்கம்