Enrique de Malacca Memorial Project, 2016
Single-channel video, nutmeg and clove casts, replica & found objects, oil paintings and works on
Collection of the Artist
Singapore Biennale 2016 commission
Some believe that the first person to circumnavigate the world was a Malay, Panglima Awang (also known as Enrique of Malacca or Henry the Black), who was Ferdinand Magellan’s slave and interpreter. Like other cultural elements historically shared across maritime Southeast Asia, the figure of Enrique is subject to ownership claims and counter-claims between Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines today. Ahmad Fuad’s installation takes the form of a memorial, featuring a portrait and a statue of an imagined Enrique, together with video documentation, artefacts and copies of documents. By juxtaposing contradictory and sometimes fictional colonial, postcolonial and nationalist representations of Enrique, the artist alludes to the complexity of Enrique’s intertwined identity and history, and the fluidity of sociocultural boundaries in Southeast Asia, while addressing the difficulty of verifying the truthfulness of a history.