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Arts These Malaysian Artists Are Still Making Art During The MCO

These Malaysian Artists Are Still Making Art During The MCO

These Malaysian Artists Are Still Making Art During The MCO
By Aina Izzah
By Aina Izzah
April 03, 2020
Art doesn't stop just because one is confined to a small space. We find out how three artists are coping.

Nadhir Nor

Photo: Courtesy of Nadhir Nor
Photo: Courtesy of Nadhir Nor

"I've been freelancing for the last few months so when the movement control order was announced, it didn't feel different than my daily routine," says the 25-year-old illustrator who is now currently observing the RMO with his family in Sungai Buloh. FaceTime and video calls have been his go-to tools to connect with friends and cope with the isolation.

Nor has been working on his art, including a comicbook he's working on with a Singaporean writer, digitally with a drawing tablet. He has also started Patreon page for patrons interested to financially support his future projects.

Inspired by mythology and the Nusantara as well as Japanese illustrator Ikegami Yorikuri, Nor doesn't really plan his art projects: "When I have pieces that I feel gel together thematically, I would reflect upon current issues, process my thoughts and then work around them."

During this time, he has produced an artwork of a celestial figure surrounded by stars. Titled Starsailors, he explains that it's simply about being carefree and reaching for the stars.

"To be honest, I didn't have the MCO in mind when I was making it but the pandemic has made me understand how easy it is to have our freedom taken away from us. Suddenly, being carefree takes on a different meaning."

See also: 7 Global Cultural Experiences You Can Enjoy From Home

John Edwards a.k.a. Vomit Thunder

John Edwards' diorama (Photo: Courtesy of John Edwards)
Photo: Courtesy of John Edwards
Photo: Courtesy of John Edwards

Closer To Black, a comicbook of short horror stories published by Keropok Comics launched John Edwards or Vomit Thunder into the mainstream.

The success has earned him a large following that eagerly awaits the release of his new book,The Epic Fail: Legends of the Monkey King that incorporates themes of horror, '80s graphics and Taiosm.

With the MCO, an art exhibition that Edwards had been working on with Titikmerah Gallery was postponed. He says: "On the other hand, I have more time to prepare for my other projects."

One of them was this small skull-like diorama that comes, aptly enough, with a face mask. "Based on the theme of 'exposure', the design is inspired by Na Tuk Gong (earth spirits) and Malaysia's Taoist culture." 

See also: 10 Galleries To Check Out In Art Basel's Online Viewing Rooms

Sarah Radzi

(Left) Sarah Radzi. (Right) Radzi's artwork during the MCO (Swipe left for more sketches by Sarah Radzi)

A few days before the MCO was announced, Sarah Radzi ran out of canvas. But she didn't have time to get new supplies. "And now I couldn't get any more because the shops are closed. I have to put most of my projects on hold."

'Identity' is a recurring theme in her art, which she often shares on her Instagram. "I find Tracey Emin inspiring because she uses candid moments from her life events as an inspiration for her work, which can be both tragic and humorous."

During this MCO, Sarah has made a sketch of a couple hugging, but one of them is confined in a small house. "The art is more of a message: 'See you when things are better'. That said, I miss hugging my friends!"

See also: Malaysian Fashion Designers Are Sewing Hospital Gowns For Medical Frontliners



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