People of the Land, 2024

Aliwal Arts Centre

“The History of the world is but the Biography of great men.” — Thomas Carlyle

In a former colonial state littered with tributes to Sir Stamford Raffles, Pangrok Sulap offers the opposite side of the coin: the history of the world is also written by ordinary people.

Referencing the 1871 Census, the first systematic census of Singapore, People of the Land is a series of drawings of the ordinary people who lived and toiled in Singapore, including fishermen, labourers, and carpenters. Of note, the census enumerates great ethnic diversity. Subsequent censuses would collapse it into the familiar idiom of Chinese, Malay, Indian, Others.

The title of the work underscores the profound yet understated role of ordinary human beings in shaping history. The Sabahan collective, known for giving voice to marginalised communities, believes that history is incomplete without recognising the people on the ground.


Pangrok Sulap (est. 2010, Malaysia) is a multidisciplinary art collective. Established in Sabah, Malaysia, the collective is made up of artists, curators, writers, researchers, activists, musicians, designers, craftspeople and many others. As part of its mission to strengthen communities through art, the collective has organised art exhibitions, projects, and collaborations with communities to support their social, cultural, economic and educational development.

Pangrok Sulap has participated in various art exhibitions worldwide. Notable exhibitions include Falls of the Evolution, Aichi Triennale (2019); and Escape from the SEA, Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur (2017). Pangrok Sulap was part of OH! Open House’s inaugural Associate Artist Programme 2022/23 cycle (September 2022 to October 2023).

Pangrok Sulap

Woodcut prints on blackout cotton
335 x 152 cm each

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