Friday, July 31, 2009
Porta de Santiago
Perhaps the oldest public monument in Malaysia is the gateway of the A Famosa, named the Porta De Santiago, the only physical remnants of a city with 1 kilometer stretch of walls and bastions encapsulating the then city center.
By right, this gateway was part of the city and should never be regarded or even qualified as a monument. But after the massive destruction effort by William Farquhar in 1807, by demolishing all the structure of the city except for the southern gateway, the structure inadvertently becomes functionless.
This turn of event had altered the function and the context of the gateway.
I would like to call it an accidental artwork. The gateway stands on itself, independent of any association with any other structures, buildings or monuments hence qualify it as a unique (one of a kind) structure. It is three dimensional with considerable ornaments dictating its historic value and is accessible to the public.
The gateway, being historic evidence of the oldest colonial structure in South East Asia at its present state evokes greater appreciation from the public. Its presence enhances the public’s aesthetic experiences because of its monumental outlook, its ancient interiors and its geographical settings being built on a foothill.