Art is not what you see, but what you want others to see. We believe that every living soul is an artist in their own way; that what they do is Art to someone else. In this project, we roamed around George Town in search of everyday people who are contributing to the unique character of this city.
A community project, Why Art, was launched in May by the Youth Ambassadors with the objective of understanding how the local art scene has changed lives and inspired people. They roamed the streets of George Town, interviewing and collecting, engaging stories from people of different races and age groups. Here are their works:
“As a child, I was hyperactive, so my dad enrolled me in art class to get me to sit still. In kindergarten, we were given a paper with a box in the middle, then we were told to color it. Everyone colored inside the box, whereas I colored the outside. My teacher didn’t scold me. Instead, he said I was very creative. He didn’t stop me, so I progressed from there. Since young, I have always enjoyed creating stuff. I’ve done a lot of artwork, but I’m most proud of the ones with deep meaning. Art doesn’t have to be nice, it could be disgusting but provokes thoughts. My objective in painting is to deliver a message and let it be known. Just last month, I quit high school because I have been accepted into Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts to further pursue an education in fine arts. One day, I hope to come back to Penang to paint murals, as most of them are painted by foreigners.”
“For years I have been telling my husband that I want to start making dolls, with the initial intention to make them for my daughter. Then he asked, “When are you going to start?” I started the very next day, because if I don’t do it then, when will I start? Now, it’s been four years. My motto is: ‘One doll, one smile’, because I see the way people smile when they see the dolls. As an educator and designer, I try to be very passionate. I believe in touching hearts; once I do so, people will always remember me. I might not be perfect, but I’m hoping to inspire the people around me. Give me the weakest, I will make the best out of them. My philosophy in life is to inspire people. My grandmother inspired me to do art, she did a lot of arts and crafts when I was little. Now, I try to inspire my kids. I let them stuff my dolls and bring colored pencils along so that they can draw anytime, anywhere. I believe that art is very important. It’s a form of expressive and therapeutic documentation. Art is a universal language for knowledge,inspiration and change.”
“My interest in writing has led me to this path. In Penang, there is a lack of platforms for writers, so I curated VOICES, a program that is part of the George Town Literary Festival, which acts as a platform for women writers in Malaysia. I believe that art does transform lives, if one actively participates in it. Exposure is important, but what is more important is hands-on exposure. My medium of art is words. Art is a reflection of life, it’s a mirror to society. Often times, words make the biggest impact.”
“I have gotten this tattoo when I was 16. I did not go to school back then, and the idea of getting inked just poped up out of nowhere. I did no go with a bunch of crazy friends as shown in TV. That day I went to the tattoo shop alone, I didn’t find the mermaid design I wanted, so I settled with this tribal pattern on the top side of my palm. Reflecting back after 6 years, I still can’t find any meaning behind my actions that day. Or maybe this tattoo has impacted me the way I have yet to discover. ”
“Art impacted me the most when I was in Form 3, when Art subject is compulsory for everyone. When the drawing papers were distributed, I spaced out and my imaginations ran wild. I pictured the scene, the number of people and colours I should use. All the horses and rainbows run joyously from my brain and slowly disfigured when they come to the tip of my pencil lead. I ended up drawing beautiful stickmen at an abstract landscape. My mind draws better than my hands, I guess.”