The creative industry is often an industry that gets overlooked, yet it is an industry that continues to contribute to Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP). According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM), the creative industry has contributed 1.9 per cent of the nation’s GDP over the past five years.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging period for local artists. A survey by the Cultural Economy Development Agency (CENDANA) during the Movement Control Order period found that more than 90 per cent of the respondents were negatively impacted by the COVID19 pandemic, with 70 per cent of them having lost all or most of their income.
In order to help local artists recover from the tumultuous tides of the pandemic, RHB – the fourth largest, fully-integrated financial services group in Malaysia – returned with its Art with Heart (AwH) event, which showcases over 100 pieces of art by 53 Malaysian artists held from 5 to 11 September at Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur.
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Themed ‘Rising Together’, the exhibition portrayed the rise of the artists despite the hard times caused by the pandemic. Each and every piece exhibited holds significant value in the expression of the artist as well as messages that capture the essence of what it means to be Malaysian.
The RHB Art with Heart 2022 Exhibition has uplifted the art of many artists nationwide who were severely affected by the pandemic and has especially celebrated the work of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).
Here are our top picks of the five young and emerging artists whose works of art stood out for us at the Art with Heart 2022.
An abstract expressionist artist based in KL, Mulaika revolves her work around the main themes of life and death, as well as mental health and the human experience. Mulaika’s journey through her thoughts, emotions and mental health can be seen in her art that has transitioned from the usage of darker mediums to the usage of brighter colours, all while maintaining the soulful nature of her paintings.
Within the past four years, Mulaika has showcased her work in multiple exhibitions at the Balai Seni Negara, KEN Gallery, TAKSU Gallery as well as KongsiKL, and has been featured in Tatler Asia, The Sun, New Straits Times and many other notable sites. Mulaika’s art does not subscribe to structure, which highlights the authenticity of her work. At the Art with Heart 2022, Mulaika showcased a meaningful mixed media on canvas artwork titled “Seven”.
Born in 1993, Aiman Aisamuddin is a figurative artist based in Shah Alam. He acquired his Diploma in Fine Arts from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Machang in 2013. In 2016, he graduated with a Bachelor (Hons.) in Fine Art from UiTM Seri Iskandar where he subsequently obtained his MA in Fine Art and Technology in 2019 at UiTM Shah Alam.
Actively participating in exhibitions since his Diploma days, Aiman’s work has been exhibited in exhibitions such as TANPANAMA (2013) at Bank Negara, Young & Blooming Part II (2016) at ChinaHouse, Penang and U12 Art Community (2018) at Galeri Prima, Kuala Lumpur. In 2020, he exhibited his work alongside Isa Ishak in a duo exhibition entitled Redah at HOM Art Trans, Kuala Lumpur. Aiman showcased two profound figurative oil on canvas pieces titled “Pemerhati Separa Sedar” and “A Part of My Family “Sulong”” at the Art with Heart 2022.
Leong Sok Yeng
Leong Sok Yeng comes from a long line of Chinese Medical Practitioners, dating back more than 140 years. Her kinship with traditional Chinese medicine influences her art, where she explores elements of herbs and tools as the main objects of her paintings. Her art portrays the state of harmony and balance one has with the natural environment.
While she keeps her visuals as unorthodox as possible, she hopes to enhance the younger generations’ mindset and ignite their curiosity surrounding traditional Chinese medicine and practices. Working with different types of media, such as watercolour, colour pencils, acrylic and even digital, she continues to explore the different possibilities of portraying her paintings. Her artworks showcased at the Art with Heart 2022 were titled “Unity of Nature and Man”, “Harmony”, and “Living in Harmony with Nature”.
Born in 1984, Mohd AlKhuzairie Ali stands out amongst his peers by virtue of his chosen medium, ceramics, and the ways in which he moulds, paints, and fires his works to life. He graduated from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Seri Iskandar, Perak with a Diploma in Art and Design (Ceramic) where he then furthered his studies at UiTM Shah Alam to attain a Bachelor (Hons.) in Art and Design majoring in Ceramic in 2008. Khuzairie is a recipient of several awards such as Young Guns by HOM Art Trans in 2013, Honourable Mention at Gyeonggi International Ceramix Biennale in 2011 and Winner of Malaysian Emerging Artist Award in 2009.
In 2010, he held his first solo exhibition titled “Binoculars” at Threesixty Art Development Studio, Kuala Lumpur followed by his second solo titled Platoon at Galeri Chandan, Kuala Lumpur. Khuzairie’s works have been featured at various group shows in Kuala Lumpur such as Remark, Artcube (2014), LOCALS ONLY! Taksu Gallery (2014), The Young Contemporaries, Balai Seni Negara (2013), SEKAKI, Segaris Art Center (2013) and Young Malaysian Artists: New Object(ion) II, Galeri PETRONAS, Kuala Lumpur (2013).
His various work, including “Dystopia – I Will Survive”, “Survival Kit” and “Survival Kit II”, which were showcased at Art with Heart 2022, are his depictions of the current state of his surroundings and issues that are close to the hearts of Malaysians.
Photographer Rashidi Abdullah started losing his sight in his early teens. Today, he is managing with partial tunnel vision. His sight is gradually collapsing in from the sides; a condition that will regress to total blindness over time.
Rashidi is drawn to geometry, and he is fascinated with the way shapes collide and harmonise. With tunnel vision, the shape of his world is organically different from a sighted person. He is also an accomplished poet and often pairs his sajak with the images he captures.