Malaysia-born artist creates mural for Facebook Singapore using 15,000 chopsticks

PHOTO: Red Hong Yi's Facebook page

Malaysia-born artist Red Hong Yi has done it again.

The artist, who is famed for creating works of art using unusual materials, has constructed a mural entirely out of chopsticks, this time for Facebook's Singapore office.

She said in a Facebook post on Wednesday (May 18) that the social networking company wanted a mural on the 10m long wall in their Singapore office, and had asked for it to be made of chopsticks as the wall is near the office's cafe.

She posted a video of her working on the mural on her Facebook page on Wednesday.

It has been viewed at least 750,000 times, and garnered more than 17,000 likes. In the video, she pieces thousands of disposable bamboo chopsticks together and sets them ablaze with a blowtorch to create depth and colour.

Painting with fire on chopsticks! A piece to find beauty in ordinary materials, and celebrate all that Singapore is...

Posted by Red Hong Yi on Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Red, as she is popularly known, said in her post that she wanted to "explore bamboo chopsticks as a material and experiment with alternative methods to create murals, so instead of painting on the wall, I decided to set it ablaze".

For her latest work for Facebook's Singapore office, Red chose to depict the Merlion, a well-known Singapore icon.

She used 15,000 bamboo chopsticks, which were "glued, torched, then layered again and burnt a few more times to create depth and dimension to the piece," according to her Facebook post.

Besides chopsticks, she has used coffee cup stains, straws, tealight candles and even rolled up socks to create amazing portraits of famous people, including Taiwanese musician Jay Chou, British singer Adele, Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan and Chinese film-maker Zhang Yimou.

She has also created quirky works of art using different kinds of food, from cucumbers to dragon fruit.

But she did not always know that she wanted to be a full-time artist.

Red graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Master in Architecture in 2010, then moved to Shanghai to pursue a career in architecture. It was here that she created her first work using unusual materials.

Using only sunflower seeds, she crafted a portrait of Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei.

Red describes herself in her Facebook profile as an "artist + shy rebel" who "paints without a paintbrush".

xiuhuil@sph.com.sg

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