Celebrating life after death
NAFA students got challenged to come up with their own unique “In Memoriams” and three winners were selected.
The Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) students got a challenge from “Obitcheery”, an initiative by Lien Foundation, recently to come up with their own unique “In Memoriam” for a loved one who has passed on, or someone dear to them who had a positive impact on their lives.
They weren’t afraid to take on the challenge and the three winning entries were: 21-year-old Mohammad Haeqal Bin Sulaiman for his entry “Little things of Ronald Chua” (1st place); 23-year-old Ong Hui Yu for her entry “Certificate of registration of rebirth” (2nd place); and 21-year-old Cheryl Chu for her entry “The beauty of cranes” (3rd place).
Ageless Online queried them about their experience:
What made you take part in this challenge?
Haeqal: The challenge was a must for us third-year advertising students in NAFA to participate as some percentage of the outcome would be considered in our final-year project grade. In all honesty, I had no choice but to take part in it, and with God’s will, eventually I got the grand prize.
Hui Yu: The interesting brief behind the competition made me take part in this challenge. We had to portray death as a joyful event, so that’s a really creative thought behind the whole challenge and something not everyone would have thought of.
Cheryl: We were actually encouraged by our school to take part in this challenge.
How did you come up with your idea?
Haeqal: It was quite a challenge for me as I’ve never really done any death-related works. Especially with the challenge theme, “Celebrate life after death”, I had to really think hard on how to make my work stand out from the rest. I got the inspiration from the late film director Yasmin Ahmad, particularly her TV commercial titled “Funeral” that she did for MCYS. I have always adored her films and ads that she did for Petronas in Malaysia and how she always incorporated the multi-racial society in her works.
Though some of her works were quite controversial, I think those controversial scenes made her works real or genuinely true in a sense that those things do happen in real life and you can’t deny that. And I guess that’s one of many reasons why people love her films. Apart from that, the idea to stick to the roots of traditional obituary layout in newspapers were also used in my work.
Hui Yu: I came up with the idea of a birth certificate of rebirth in heaven because I was thinking of the opposite. Death is a sad event so what is a happy event? So I thought of the happy event of giving birth to a child, and I made use of this thought to create a rebirth certificate; a certificate design, which every Singaporean could relate to. The design was not hard to do; it was the thinking process that was hard.
Cheryl: As an ad student, I did lots of brainstorming. I came up with maybe more than 15 ideas before settling on this, and another two. It wasn’t hard to do. I wanted to create something that could be part of a legacy and something interactive where viewers could read, understand, interact and thus understand more of the message communicated in the obituary/ad.
What were some lessons you took away from the challenge?
Haeqal: I guess for me, I used to think it’s just a simple social norm to mourn over the dead but after this project, I guess it has opened my view of things on how you can positively look at death.
Hui Yu: This challenge had taught me to think differently, and see things from a different perspective. Death is not a happy thing to start with, so we have to change our mindset in order to come up with a good and creative design to influence other people as well.
Cheryl: I learnt a little more about death and the issue and stigma behind it. It also made me rethink how I would want my death to be remembered, how I might want my own obituary to be like.
** On the “Obitcheery” website, you can submit your tribute to a loved one who has passed on. Share how they impacted your life and how they were unique. Or, you can create your own personalised box of special memories that pay tribute to a loved one who has passed on. Publish it online, keep private, share with friends and family, or even invite others to contribute to your memory collection.