Pasar Karat Market: an Art Book Project

Formerly a British colonial city, Ipoh was once made rich by its tin-mining industry. A bazaar called Pasar Karat was created there in that historical context. For NOvia Shin, Pasar Karat is more than a marketplace where goods are exchanged and traded. In fact, the market is like a well-illustrated book showing the industrial, ethnic, and cultural histories of Malaysia. The stories can be beautifully visualized by old photographs, text books, vintage magazines, and expired identification documents sold and circulated there. 

This art book project is a collaboration between NOvia Shin and Slowork Publishing, an independent publisher in Taiwan committed to promoting non-fiction comics in Asia. The first half of the book, manufactured with the help of illustrations and laser engraving, contains a miniature bazaar full of shoppers, goods, and flowing aroma and the author even uses a first-person narrative to invite readers to step into it as if they were able to get to know vendors and residents and even haggle for a better price with these illustrated figures. 

In the form of the exercise book, the second half of the publication adopts photo collage and hand-drawn pictures to represent a city where the Chinese, British, and Malay cultures met and merged with each other. 

After the book was released, the publisher held an online exhibition in November 2021 that resulted in more than 200 visits. A colloquium, held on the 26th of that month, attracted more than 50 participants. 

Slowork Publishing

The Slowork Publishing produces original graphic novels with a strong commitment to cultural diversity and high evaluation of the quest for historical truth. Closely working with illustrators and authors from all over Asia, the publisher continues to find a pictorial narrative style belonging uniquely and specifically to this part of the world.

NOvia Shin

NOvia Shin is an artist from Malaysia. She has a strong interest in people, objects, and places that are mistakenly considered as petty, undervalued, and insignificant. With the help of different media, ranging from paper art, installation, and animation, Shin wants to present the emotive experience of things and events reflecting our view of the world.