For pushing the boundaries of her chosen field
Red Hong Yi is one of the trailblazers in the Malaysian art scene. She has developed her own unique style of taking everyday objects and turning them into striking art installations. While living in Shanghai, the former architect was inspired to create art by using household items like chopsticks that she would buy in bulk and use them to make art.
She often finds new inventive methods to push the boundaries of her medium, never settling on one particular material or style. More recently Red has been taken to creating Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)—one-of-a-kind digital artwork that are verified on blockchain technology.
The Sabah-born artist had a knack for art early in life and was encouraged by her parents to pick up the paint brush and express herself. A brilliant student, she went on to study architecture in Australia and after graduating, worked as an architect in Shanghai. The need to be creative never left her and she challenged herself to create new art by using the materials that she had available.
One of her career-defining pieces was featured on the cover of Time magazine where she and her team constructed a massive world map formed out of 50,000 green-tip matchsticks. Part sculpture, part performance art, they lit the matchsticks and captured the world “burning”, a clear message that highlights the severity of climate change.
Red made her mark again when she sold her Doge To The Moon NFT via an online auction for 36.3 ETH. At the time it was touted to be the most expensive NFT sold by a Malaysian artist and a portion of the proceeds she earned was donated to Mercy Malaysia’s Covid-19 pandemic relief fund.
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Red created a series of artwork in response to anti-Asian racism and was listed as one of most influential voices in Asia in May 2020 by Tatler Hong Kong.