In Land of a Thousand Guilts, Koyok responses to a dire situation faced by Malaysia’s indigenous people; the Orang Asal – a community which he belongs to. In this exhibition, the artist draws upon personal experiences of trauma in his youth, in which his own village faced when an unscrupulous land developer encroached the jungle surrounding his home village.
The works are an extension of Koyok’s advocacy and activism to save a forest plot surrounding an indigenous village from deforestation due to the degazettement of forest reserve plan by the Malaysian government. Through his works, viewers are presented with a contemporary view of struggle of indigenous people with the aim of contributing a deeper understanding of the complexity of Malaysia’s multiculturalism.
The works come together as a reminder of the negative effect modernity has brought upon humanity and the exploitation of the natural world. Will technological development help alleviate the conflict between economic development and environmental quality? Land of a Thousand Guilts serves as a social consciousness.