One Nation or One World? : An Exhibition of Posters, Alpha (Foundation) Year, Faculty of Creative Multimedia, Multimedia University. April 2010
I asked the Alpha Design Fundamental’s lecturers when first invited to pen down a few notes for the exhibition – yes, was it One Nation or One World? Vimala Perumal, a member of the Alpha lecturing team who initiated the exhibition explained that One Nation originated as an idea to promote tolerance, togetherness and peace amongst people. Students were first to study significant quotations from famous individuals, then visualized the selected quotations using typography combined with relevant images into compositions for posters; they worked the compositions on computers and later printed them in AO size posters.
The exhibition is a selection of some 30 posters, on the theme or title of One Nation, created by previous students of Alpha (session 2009, now they are in the Beta year). Vimala coordinated the class.
One Nation or One World?
The word Nation is singular in a sense; it usually connoted a political idea of a country or a government used to govern people or the citizens. There were even political parties using One Nation as their parties’ names – One Nation, a nationalist party in Australia; One Nation, a defunct party in Israel; One Nation, a defunct far-right party in the United Kingdom; One Nation, a secular non-profit organization in the U.S.A. that advocates American religious pluralism; etceteras.
The past proved that there were always at least two different (if not more) opinions / views / beliefs in living this life: Good or Bad, Right or Wrong, Left or Right. Then, can we say One Nation, as an idea is perhaps utopian? Perhaps One Nation only lives in imagination, like John Lennon said in his song: Imagine there’s no Heaven / It’s easy if you try / No hell below us / Above us only sky / Imagine all the people / Living for today / Imagine there’s no countries / It isn’t hard to do / Nothing to kill or die for / And no religion too / Imagine all the people / Living life in peace…
Or these tolerance, togetherness and peace amongst people perhaps better said as One World, like Michael Jackson said in the song: …We are the world / We are the children / We are the ones who make a brighter day / So let’s start giving / There’s a choice we’re making / We’re saving our own lives / It’s true we’ll make a better day / Just you and me…?
According to Vimala, the class, which exhibited the posters, was composed of students of various nationalities. There were Bangladeshis, Chinese, Indians, Indonesians, Iranians, Iraqis, Nigerians, Saudi Arabians, etceteras… as well as Malaysians. It is interesting to note that, though the students came from various backgrounds and places, its difficult to discover these ‘national identities’ (of where they came from) as almost all images addressed or represented were issues of universal and global concerns. Perhaps these reflected the One Nation (or One World) projected by Vimala and her Alpha Teaching Team.
The posters on display were laden with both surface beauty and underpinning meanings. There were popular or famous images and quotations of Carlos Santana, Che Guevara, Helen Keller, John Lennon, Kofi Annan, Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King JR., and etceteras. There were colours, lines, shapes and all the design principles_ the students proved they understood poster as a media form.
The Alpha Teaching Team involved with the One Nation Poster Project were Elyna Amir Sarji, Hanafiah Waiman and Mastura A Rahman, beside Vimala Perumal.