Our distinctive Malay Unity, sun and crescent collection in the style of batik, is a reinterpretation of the Maphilindo flag, which first appeared to the global public in 1963. 

The symbols represent the unity of the people of Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The artistic and animistic traditions of these cultures and communities are seen throughout my art, patterns, and designs. 

During my first trip to Malaysia, I turned to my best friend and said, "I...we look like them." He replies, "We are them. We are Malay people."

Left speechless and mind blown, this seminal moment would lead me to eventually study, travel, and explore the shared histories, languages, and cultural traditions of Malay people. 

"Maphilindo" was a non-political union, or confederation, of the Southeast Asian countries of the Malay Archipelago: Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Together, these countries would account for over 14 million people and a geography that would have become the first Southeast Asian superstate.

This union was first proposed by Philippines revolutionary (and national hero), Dr. José Rizal, to unite all Malay people that were artificially divided by colonial barriers - the Philippines occupied by Spain and America, Malaysia by the British, and Indonesia by the Dutch - despite having shared languages, rituals, and genetic bonds. 

The crescent signifies the Muslim populations of Malaysia and Indonesia, while the sun represents the Philippines, both strong symbols intended to unite Malay people during a time of revolution, economic opportunity, and prosperity. 

They say that energy attracts energy. After returning from my first trip to Malaysia, I couldn't understand my fascination with the people and society I had just experienced. I poured over countless batik art pieces and photographs before piecing together the many art pieces present across my body today. When I learned about Maphilindo, this shared vision across the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, my irrational fascination suddenly had a home. 

The legacy of Maphilindo lives on. These early organizing efforts would shape the formation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN, which was established a few years later in 1967 to bring strength, impact, and unity across Southeast Asia as we see it today. #HeadzofState

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