Flanegan Bainon / MalaysiaFlanegan Bainon / MalaysiaFlanegan Bainon / MalaysiaHajime Kimura / JapanHajime Kimura / JapanJunpei Kato / JapanJunpei Kato / JapanMikio Hasui / JapanMikio Hasui / JapanNadia Jasmine Mahfix / MalaysiaNadia Jasmine Mahfix / MalaysiaRayyiu Radzi / Malaysia

HOME > English > 2014 > LECTURE 2014




by Steven Lee / Naoko Ohta

TWO MOUNTAINS is a ‘joint friendship’ photography project initiated by the directors of KLPA Events and KLEE, INC PARIS TOKYO, Steven Lee and Naoko Ohta, respectively. Acknowledging the iconic status of Mount Fuji in Japan and Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia, three specially selected photographers from each country will be commissioned to photograph personal photo-stories about these revered peaks.

Focussing on the peoples and communities which live ‘under their shadow’, this cross cultural project hopes to enlighten and discover the legends, folklore and traditions from each mountain.

Beginning May 2014, the project will culminate in a public exhibition in August in Kuala Lumpur, with planned talks to be arranged. A reciprocal Tokyo exhibition is planned for 2015.

Photographers - Japan

1. Junpei Kato
2. Hajime Kimura
3. Mikio Hasui

Photographers – Malaysia

1. Nadia Jasmine Mahfix
2. Rayyiu Radzi
3. Flanegan Bainon


Exhibition of Two Mountains Photo Project will feature all six photo stories and will take place at :

Kuala Lumpur
12 to 24 August 2014
Open daily 11 – 6

There will be a presentation talk given by Naoko Ohta and Steven Lee on 17th August, at Whitebox gallery, from 4pm to 6pm. There photographers will also be present to share their experiences and walk-through the exhibition. Open to all.

The Projects from the photographers are as follows :

1. Junpei KatoO / JUKAI

Aokigahara also known as the Sea of Trees, is a 35-square kilometer (14 sq.miles) forest that lies at the northwest base of Mount Fuji. The forest contains a number of rocky icy caverns, a few of which are popular tourist destinations. Due to the wind-blocking density of the trees and an absence of wildlife, the forest is known for being eerily quiet, and has a historic association with demons in Japanese mythology and is a frequent place for suicides.

Space, which spreads endlessly.

“However, although people can only see the world of a mere few, they can dream of the distant world. It will be another dimension which has no concept of time and the end of the spatial location. ..I progress into ‘Jukai’ so that it may be inhaled into the black hole of which even light cannot escape.”

2. Mikio Hasui / WATER MOUNTAIN

Now I have found that Mount Fuji is deeply related with water. However I didn’t notice it before. Needless to say, the water is controlling our lives and every living thing, including even Mount Fuji. The cloud, snow, lakes, rivers and plants, all the things come from water.

The revered Mount Fuji is protected and functioned by water effectively. The beautiful holy mountain in our minds is the original source of our lives as a water mountain.

3. Hajime Kimura / DEVOTION

According to some Japanese history books, Mt. Fuji has been known to be the highest mountain since 7th century but as a sacred place, it was too early to be recognised by the common people then. In 17th century, during the Edo era, there had been many folklore about Mt. Fuji in eastern Japan. Some worshippers founded a religion called ‘Fuji-kou’. This cult grew as a movement and became a place of pilgrimage for many, and had increased in importance up till the beginning of Meiji era around 1900. Since then Fuji-kou continued to contract and only mountain priests make pilgrimages to Mt. Fuji. Although this mountain is mainly visited by tourists nowadays, the priests return to pray on special occasions.

4. Nadia Jasmine Mahfix / BETWEEN TWO MYSTERIES

“The town rests in the valley beneath twin peaks, buried in space.
What goes up there in the night, in that dark blurry place?”

- Between two mysteries, Mount Eerie

Mount Kinabalu towers over the quaint little town of Kundasang. To describe it with mere words would do injustice to the majestic mountain. But it was surely a sight to behold.

The peaks of the mountain are constantly veiled in wisps of clouds. On certain days, the mountain looks inviting but there are also other days where it seems more moody and intimidating. One can’t help but to wonder what mystery lies therein.

For the local people, they believe that all sort of spirits dwell in the mountains. In fact the Kadazandusun’s tribe believe that the spirits of their ancestors reside at the top of the mountain. In the olden days, offerings were made to appease the spirits. Nowadays it seem as if the younger generation don’t really heed the old traditions. Furthermore, most of the people living around the mountain have converted to other religions such as Christianity and Islam.

Life around the mountain is very peaceful and quiet. Time seems to pass-by at a very slow pace. There were times that I feel as if I was stuck in an alternate reality where modernisation is far away. But the sound of my mobile phone beeping, astro satellite dishes visible on almost every rooftop remind me that I am indeed living in a modern world. At nights, this place is even more quiet and eerie for a stranger like me. You can hear the sound of the winds gushing through the valley and your imagination might play a trick or two with you on that too. But eventually you will get use to it and enjoy the quiet solitude of the night.

I came here to uncover the myth behind Mount Kinabalu but to be honest; I didn’t quite find what I was looking for but suffice to say, after almost 10 days in Kundasang, I came home slightly a changed person.

Born on 3rd of October '82 in Kuala Lumpur.
Nadia Jasmine Mahfix, was a psychology student. Her interest to have a better understanding of herself and the world around her led her to photography. For her, photography serves as a medium of therapy. To know more about her, it's best for you to see her artworks instead.
She has participated in a few photography group exhibitions :-

Beyond Our City : Lights & Myths, 2010 ; The Annexe Gallery, Central Market, Kuala Lumpur.
DATUM : KL – reViewKL, 2011 ; The White Box, Publika, Kuala Lumpur.
And also self-published a photobook, 'Is this the [n]?', 2014


Amongst the Sabahan villages that are free from environmental pollution, Bundu Tuhan is still largely enveloped by the tropical rainforest. It's low temperature and serene environment makes it an excellent place to grow fruits and vegetables.

Contributing to the agricultural industry in Ranau district, Bundu Tuhan villagers sustain themselves by cultivating lands in parts of the rainforest to harvest crops.

Rayyiu Radzi is an independent photographer from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He captures a multitude of tales in a nanosecond. In pursuit of his interest in photojournalism Ray has recently travelled to mainly outer Bangladesh and India.

6. Flanegan Bainon / FACES OF GAYO NGARAN

I’ve been born hybrid from my grand-parents and also my parents. I am a mixture of Murut, Dusun and Cantonese-Chinese. Grew up in the urban city of Kota Kinabalu, where the name was adopted from Mount Kinabalu. The name can be represented an interpreted in many ways.

From Aki Nabalu, Nabalu or Kinabalu.

For the villagers who live very near to the Mount Kinabalu, it is a forbidden word to use. That’s where the name Gayo Ngaran is being used instead.

Flanegan Bainon, born and raised in North Borneo of Malaysia. A very Mysterious Island that shaped his Curiosity and Unconventional Style. Speaks 5 languages like a boss. He started out as a Graphic Designer before He further his studies in Photography at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University. He discovered his passion in Documentary photography.

Flanegan began focusing his career on Documentary photography. Working with a local state-government owned online-press for about 2 years. Seeking new challenges he moved to Tokyo, where he began to assisting with Hiraga Masaaki for a few months and ended up working full-time for d`Arc Model and Factory Management. This has change his aesthetic and inspired his shift towards Portraiture and Editorial Photography. The authenticity and organic style of his work is a reflection of his appreciation in all forms of art.

Flanegan just move back to South East Asia and currently based in his hometown Kota Kinabalu, Borneo.


August 29 Fri 2014 AM10
ENRTY ¥2,000

purchase ticket

To get more info about Mt.ROKKO INTERNATIONAL PHOTO FESTIVAL, please register.