Raffles Students Get Down on Their Knees for Art’s Sake

The team posing with their kolam at the main entrance of Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

If you happen to visit Pavilion Kuala Lumpur anytime this week, make sure you take a good look at the swirling masterpiece of colours taking centre stage at the main entrance. The giant kolam featuring a peacock, measuring twenty-six feet by twenty-six feet is the first collaboration between Raffles College of Higher Education and Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.

Over the span of two days, with five hundred and forty eight kilograms of hand dyed rice, thirty-six students laboured to bring the design to life. The design titled “A Sight of Light” is intended to evoke joy and happiness, mirroring the festive spirit of Deepavali. For our students, this project is a valuable learning experience, the process itself a work of art.

A first time experience for most of them, they are happy with their work even though the task itself was tiring. Besides learning about a different culture, they learned patience and the importance of teamwork.

Two smaller kolams, also done by the team can be found at Fashion Avenue. Titled “An Exquisite Journey”, the smaller main kolam design features a dancing peacock with its tail feathers fanned out in all its glory. Adding a dash of fashion to this is a dress designed and made by our Fashion Design students. Ten students painstakingly hand-stitched the peacock feathers on this one and only fabulous dress, it took them sixty hours of hard work.

The team comprising mostly students from our Visual Communication programme along with their colleagues from Interactive Media Design and Interior Design where led by Caroline Chia, Team Leader and James Chang, Assistant Team Leader.

The team was guided by Visual Communication Co-ordinator Shirly Khaw while Interior Design lecturer Ramesh Verapatharan provided advise on materials, colours, cultural significance and execution method. Fashion Design students were guided and assisted by lecturers Ronney Henry and Aisah Wahab.

The project provided good exposure for the team, they learned to work as a group, the importance of teamwork, patience and working within the set time limit. Here’s what some of our students had to say.

“It’s a good learning experience, being exposed to the working world, dealing with a client on a project like this. I’m glad to be working with such a great team, I’m so proud”, says Caroline Chia.

For James Chang, “I’m very happy to be a part of this project, we have good team spirit and everyone is learning something, for many especially our foreign colleagues about Malaysian culture. The most important and valuable thing I learned here is patience. Teamwork and patience was the most important aspect in making this project a success!”

Interactive Media student Salaf Tegal from Sri Lanka has this to say about his involvement in the project.

“The overall experience is the uplifting feeling of satisfaction and knowing that everything I do contributed to the final completion of something amazing. I personally love working in groups, as it takes away the stress of the workload and making new friends from the other programmes, something I wouldn’t have been able to do due to our different interests and schedules.

I must say that college work alone is stressful enough but projects like these allow us to break away from the norm and gain new experience, working with actual companies. I always knew Malaysia was a multi-cultural hot spot, this project allows me to get a better understanding about the festival and it’s origin. 
I would say that my studies at Raffles has helped me and enabled me to make better judgments on my projects.”

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