Traditional kite maker Razi Said shares with The Vibes the value of an age-old art form that deserves a loving reminder
SEARCHING through his supplies, wau maker Razi Said reaches out for a bow seen behind him, and carefully points out the anatomy of his craft.
“What I have here is a slightly modern example, a leaf stalk would usually be in place of the ribbon used for the string, but you can still hear the sound a Wau would make when it is flown,” he said, waving the bow in his hand and letting out a firm vibration that can be heard as it cuts through the air.
As Razi stations himself at his makeshift workshop prepared in conjunction with the launch of Intermark Mall Kuala Lumpur’s ‘Wau Raya’ campaign, where the shopping mall is currently hosting the award-winning craftsman’s Wau collection until May 23, 2021, he notes, “I actually brought all of my prized work here just for this exhibition. There are about 40 of Wau in various designs, and I can’t wait for all to see”.
A connection to your roots
“I have been doing this in the last 14 years, having been introduced to the cultural artform while visiting a kite park (Taman Layang-Layang Metropolitan) with a friend in Kepong.
“I got introduced to a few people, one thing led to another and suddenly I was travelling back-and-forth from KL to Pantai Timur,” shares Razi, adding that he would make trips multiple times a week just to learn the craft.
Listening to him detail the artistry that goes behind each design, it is apparent that Razi is in sync with his calling.
“I grew up having loved art, specifically drawing. I suppose it is a natural progression of my interest.
“Even though the process takes a painstakingly long time to complete, at least that is how most would view it, I never felt tired of it. In fact, I feel fulfilled working from one design to another,” he said.
“That is what makes it so precious, the time and determination that goes into making Wau is so valuable.
“You develop a unique relationship with each work – the ‘hasil tangan’ – that you produced, a certain kind of connection to your roots. Therefore, we cannot afford to have this cultural artform die out on us,” expressed Razi.
“There is a story behind each Wau where it represents the community it calls home”.
Exploring cultural heritage together
Sharing more on the design patterns: “I take my inspirations a lot from flora and fauna, creeper plants such as water spinach, pumpkin, watermelon and bitter melons. Usually, I just draw whatever motifs I envisioned”.
There are usually four types of motifs used in producing the pattern designs. Apart from the floral aspect, people have done it to depict either an abstract, animal, or geometric element.
“It really depends on the maker; they can choose whichever designs they want to do.
According to Razi, the collection of Wau seen displayed at the entrance lobby of the mall are all airborne.
“It can all be flown, and collectively took me approximately 3,200 hours to complete.
“I am proud to be part of collaborations such as this as it has allowed for Malaysia’s iconic art form to shine with the spotlight it is giving.
“What better way to educate city-dwellers and remind them of the rich heritage and tradition of the wau.
Razi will be conducting wau-making demonstrations every Saturday at 2pm from April 24 to May 15 at Intermark Mall for shoppers who are keen to see it up close.
“You can explore the uniqueness of this cultural tradition better. I look forward to helping share more information whenever possible because it is a national treasure worth promoting,” he said.
By : AMALINA KAMAL – THE VIBES