For her graduating project this year, Lasalle College of the Arts’ Fashion Media and Industries graduate and stylist Sabrina Elman directed, wrote and produced Children of the Soil – a stylised short film that explores notions of Malayness.
Malaysian modernist painter Latiff Mohidin was a key inspiration; traditional fabrics like Javanese batik and songket feature heavily; ditto audio notes sampled from local Malay films from the ’60s – making for a powerful and stunning display that marks the 24-year-old as one to watch.
Stylist and image-maker Sabrina Elman
Lush, stylish and utterly modern, Elman’s film seeks to “steer viewers away from Western ideals and reinterpret the Malay identity” as inspired by Latiff. The 80-year-old artist is best known for his series dubbed Pago Pago – a term coined by the man himself to refer to his ideology and approach to life that sought to challenge the dominance of Western modernism in the ’60s.
Traditional fabrics like batik and songket are re-casted in a new light in Children of the Soil.
As with some of the most groundbreaking fashion designers and image-makers to emerge in recent years (Graces Wales Bonner, Ibrahim Kamara, Telfar Clemens and Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss come to mind), conversations about race, history and identity are central to her work.