Who are the Chetti's?
The Chitty (or more commonly known as Chetti) community traces its roots to Indian Peranakan heritage, originating during Parameswara's reign. Descendants of South Indian traders who arrived in Melaka in the 1400s, they married local women, giving rise to the term "Peranakan," signifying locally born offspring. The name "Chitty" may have evolved from "Chetty," linked to the Sanskrit "Shresti" denoting a leader of a mercantile group or a prosperous individual. During their trading ventures, the Chitty merchants established homes, forming local families due to extended stays. Hindered by cultural norms preventing women from traveling, these traders married local women, leading to the adoption of Malay as their common language. This cultural shift caused the Chitties to lose the Tamil language. Since then, the Chetti community has preserved their religion, culture, customs, and traditions for 600 years.
Click here to gain deeper insights into the current challenges confronting the community.
Chetti Food Culture
Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate. But Malaysian food takes it to the next level and we Malaysians know it! Our food has always been the gesture of peace which allows us to sit, eat and enjoy each other's company despite our differences. It is our differences that makes us unique.
These artworks are about showcasing not only the beauty in the variety of Malaysian food but the message that our diversity and the Chetti people in Malacca is equally beautiful."
“Malaysia tak sama, kalau kita tak bersama”
(Malaysia is never the same if we are not together)
Click on the image below to find out what type of Chetti food there is below!
On 27th - 29th October 2023 at Wen's Kitchen in Melaka, we had an opportunity thanks to Yayasan Hasanah, ArtsFAS and Ministry of Finance support to conduct a unique workshop that enabled us to connect and work together with the Chetti community with an aim to create 30x food portrait artworks to promote the Chetti food culture in Kuala Lumpur. We had participants from Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and America came together to create 30x portraits with the aim to showcase and share the Chetti's beautiful culture.
We had fun bonding together through food and art to experience and understand what it feels like from all three senses; touch, smell and taste. All food were eaten, packed, documented, delivered to bless others and causing us to happily gain weight while we were in Malacca.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone who contributed and participated in creating 30x artworks through our WORKSHOP: PROMOTING CHETTI FOOD CULTURE (THROUGH FOOD PORTRAIT ART WITH THE ROJAK PROJEK) in Malacca between 27th - 29th October 2023.
Wenila Nadarajan, Bert Tan, Kashika Raja a/p Nadarajan Raja, Kenisha Raja A/P Nadarajan Raja,Rushikesh Rajah a/l Nadarajan Raja, Raja Jan, Pavithran Pillay, K.Arunasalam Pillay, Lew Lai Lee, Amber Lawrence, Margo Lawrence, Ruby Lawrence, Simeon Lawrence, Nishanth Raja a/l Thevaraj Raja, K. Vimala Devi, Direndra Raja a/l Thevaraj Raja, Nur Aina Nadhirah binti Mohd Bazli, K Arunasalam Pillay, Ryan Kelsey Tan, Shanmugam Raja a/l Kandasamy Raja, Nadia Pillay A/P T.S Letchumanan Roy, Lim Fuan Eng, Vicky Gan Chee Hup, Melody Tan Huey Ling, Cheryl Tan Ai Min, Tang Siew Hui, F. Khamarul Zaman Bin Jafri, Nurakmal Izuddin bin Zainal, Rishimavaarshini a/p Ragas, Chan Ai Sin, Chua Jea Jern, Krideeshni A/P Thevaraj Raja, Tan Shew Moi, Hasbe Zuraiha bt Abu Bakar, Amirul Muhammad, June Boo Siew Im, Dennis Kong Ming Hong, Nur Yasmin binti Mortaza, Mohamad Nor Ridwan bin Hamidi and Lim Sheng Feiyan (Faye Lim).