KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — Malaysian contemporary artist Red Hong Yi's artwork on climate change was featured on the cover of the latest Time Magazine issue.

For the cover, the Sabahan artist created a 2.3m x 3m world map covered by 50,000 green-tipped matchsticks.

The green matchsticks symbolising trees were set alight to highlight how climate change can affect and destroy the world.

Red said she assembled a six-member team for the project.


“My team and I spent two weeks sticking matchsticks non-stop for eight hours a day, and then we watched the piece burn down in two minutes,” she wrote in her Instagram post.

“As the Covid pandemic continues to assail the world, we are reminded more than ever that no country is unaffected by global crises, whether it is a pandemic or economic collapse or, as this special issue highlights, global warming and climate change.”

In a behind-the-scenes video posted on her Instagram page, Red said they took several safety precautions when lighting up the matchsticks.


“The challenge behind this is that we knew this would blow up. It’s made of matchsticks. So we made sure that safety measures were in place. We also sprayed fire-retardant paint on the board.

“There were firefighters on standby. We also had (safety) drills. So everything was taken into consideration,” she said.



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Women Photographers Malaysia co-founder Annice Lyn was also part of the project as the cover image was photographed by her.

“It gives me tremendous honour to do everyone's effort justice to immortalise by capturing this moment in time to grace the cover of Time Magazine

“The entire process took the team two months of planning, two weeks to assemble the art piece and just two minutes to watch it all go up in flames,” she wrote in an Instagram post.