a critical exploration of palm oil histories in peninsular Malaysia
Alvin Danker / Ayesha Keshani
ABOUT THE PROJECT
TOJOH SAWIT is a critical exploration of the entangled histories of plantations, forests, counter-insurgency, conservation and museums in peninsula Malaysia. The project collaborators are artist and museum researcher Ayesha Keshani, and eco-tour guide, ex-Police Field Force infantryman and wannabe oil palm planter Alvin Danker.
Together they will undertake a wide-ranging journey around west Malaysia to visit significant sites in the history of plantation development, collecting audio, footage, photographs and interviews along the way. Drawing from their professional and personal backgrounds, the project focuses on their discussions across these multiple locations, as they traverse the histories of relocation, displacement and the re-organisation of peoples, animals and plants across Malaysian landscapes.
The project will be documented via an experimental website, MUZIUM TOJOH SAWIT, and an artist publication offering written texts, photographs, maps and diagrams.
MUZIUM ALAM (external link to Muzium Alam site)
An experimental online “museum” of stories about the seas, mangroves, forests and multiple alam on the western coast of Sarawak: colonial histories, the Sarawak Museum, half-forgotten memories, anecdotes, rumours. Muzium Alam was made possible thanks to British Council Connections Through Culture 2020.
WHALE FAT & PALM OIL (forthcoming 2022)
Artist publication that explores the links between Sheba and Solomon, the gradual replacement of sperm whale fat with palm oil as an illuminant, and its speculative relations to Bornean landscapes. Part nightmare, part fiction, part undeniable reality.
MAIAS & THE LEPER (work in progress)
A series of short speculative fiction stories by Alvin Danker exploring absent orangutan histories across space and time, located around a single road in Sarawak.
PREVIOUS WORK - ALVIN DANKER
Alvin Danker is an award-winning eco-tour guide based in Sarawak. He has over 15 years experience of guiding across Sarawak’s national parks and forests, and over 40 years working in and around forests in west and east Malaysia.