Commissioned by the World Economic Forum for Malaysia Night, Red Hong Yi showcased a piece of home using tea bags to illustrate the 'Teh Tarik Man'.

Known as the artist who paints without a brush, Red Hong Yi has stunned the world with her art pieces created using chopsticks, sunflower seeds and even shuttlecocks. Now, her latest achievement involves 20,000 teabags to recreate a piece of home for Malaysia Night at the World Economic Forum.

Commissioned by the forum to create a piece that represents Malaysia, Hong Yi chose to recreate one of the most iconic beverages of the country - 'teh tarik' ('pulled tea' in Malay).

Hong Yi says, "Perhaps more important than the drink itself is the underlying culture. Locals gather in kopitiams and mamaks, and here they talk about where to buy the best durians, the traffic, politics, weather, soccer... It is a drink that brings people together."

Through dyeing tea bags in different shades of the crimson-coloured tea, Hong Yi painstakingly binded them together to create a 3-D portrait of a man performing the art of tea pulling (see video below).

Hong Yi says, "The teabags were stained by steeping the bags in hot water — the lesser and hotter the water, the more they were stained – and the darker tones were stained with brown food dye."

After the dyeing and binding processes, she gathered the tea bags and placed each one into their respective frames using wiremesh and staples before hanging them on a large wooden frame.

In addition to the main portrait, she also added another layer of work in front to showcase the many utensils commonly found in mamak store to further illustrate her story.

All in all, the process took over two months and the final art piece weighed over 200kg with a size of 3.2 x 2.2meters.

 

(Photos: Red Hong Yi)

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