red hong yi composes portrait of teh tarik man with 20,000 teabags
all images courtesy of red hong yi

 

 

 

continuing her obsession with creating art beyond the confines of a paintbrush, red hong yi has composed a portrait which reflects — both physically and symbolically — the culture of her home country, malaysia. using 20,000 stained teabags of varying hues and colorways, ‘red’ has created a portrait of a ‘teh tarik man’ through the intricate layering and repeating of individually-colored pouches. the portrait is based around ‘teh tarik’, meaning ‘pulled-tea’ in malay — a drink served in local coffeeshops that is sweet and milky, becoming frothy when poured between two containers. cans and a shaved ice machine serve as props in the scene, hung in the foreground.

 

 


teh tarik man made of 20,000 teabags
video courtesy of red hongyi

 

 

 

‘red’ has individually stained the teabags in 10 different shades of brown by steeping them in hot water — the lesser and hotter the water, the more they were stained, while darker tones were stained with food dye. these satchels were then carefully stapled and attached onto a grid of wiremesh tiles and hung from a wooden frame. the myriad of tones and their careful placement creates the undeniable image of a ‘teh tarik man’. created in melbourne, australia — and finally air freighted to davos, switzerland for display at the world economic forumthe piece serves as a source of personal and cultural importance, as the artist hopes that she would be able to share a bit of her country’s culture through the work.

red hong yi teh tarik man 20,000 teabags
‘red’ composes the piece using 20,000 teabags of varying hues and colorways

red hong yi teh tarik man 20,000 teabags
the myriad of tones and their careful placement creates the undeniable image of a ‘teh tarik man’

red hong yi teh tarik man 20,000 teabags
the piece is a continuation of the artist’s obsession with creating work beyond the confines of a paintbrush

red hong yi teh tarik man 20,000 teabags

red hong yi teh tarik man 20,000 teabags

red hong yi teh tarik man 20,000 teabags

red hong yi teh tarik man 20,000 teabags
‘red’ has individually stained the teabags in 10 different shades of brown by steeping them in hot water

red hong yi layers 20,000 teabags teh tarik man
the tea bags have been stapled to a wiremesh grid

red hong yi layers 20,000 teabags teh tarik man
the individually-stained pouches are carefully attached to a grid 

red hong yi layers 20,000 teabags teh tarik man
‘teh tarik man’ in progress