“What I present is not about Singapore history, but rather it is the history and living cultures across Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand up to Vietnam. This is the Malay world that the world knows very little about. Even the Malays in Singapore do not know it well. Singapore is one part of the Malay landscape. It is a port and a small island at the end of a crossroad between Straits of Melaka and South China Sea. That is the reason why it was a pirate’s favourite zone, especially Straits of Melaka.
The Venice Biennale is an opportunity to open the door for the world to imagine this very Malay empire. The power it exercised over the region is not incomparable to the Greek or Mongolian conquests, but the history of the empire is buried and forgotten. Through this work I am very happy to introduce my very first king ‘Lord Dapunta Hyang Jayanasa’. He is real and not a myth.”
Read Art Radar Journal’s interview with Zai Kuning here.