Malaysia Design Archive (MDA) embraces an open practice of archiving and pedagogy that enables greater critical engagement with visual culture and history. Established in 2008 by designer Ezrena Marwan and activist Jac SM Kee, MDA began as an online repository of materials that mapped the development of graphic design in Malaysia from the period before independence (1957) until the present. They were joined by academic Simon Soon in 2016, and together, they set up a non-profit centre the following year. In addition to MDA’s core online graphic collection, they also have a physical collection that encompasses a range of materials.
One of MDA’s major projects has been to catalogue and digitise the VK Collection of contemporary Southeast Asian art, one of the largest visual art collections in Kuala Lumpur. MDA curated the exhibition, As We See It: History through Visual Design (2017), showcasing a timeline of Malaysia’s history through graphic design. That same year, Design for Asia Awards, Hong Kong recognised MDA with the Grand Award, in acknowledgement of their decade-long support of Malaysian art and design work.