Our Malaysian talents abroad making us proud again!
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Malaysian-native artist Azzah Sultan has made her mark in New York City with beautiful Malaysian-inspired contemporary art presented at her first solo show titled ‘Anak Dara’.
Although she is of Malaysian descent, she was born in Abu Dhabi and lived across Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Finland. She moved to New York at 16 years old. As such, she notes that staying in touch with her heritage has been a lifelong exercise.
Her solo show is titled ‘Anak Dara‘, which translates to virgin or maiden. It is a term of endearment often used by her mother, says Azzah. This choice is intentional to explore the nuances of the term, which is loaded with assumptions and obligations as a Muslim and a person-of-colour living in the United States.
For me, religion and culture is a fundamental point of my identity, as I am physically seen as Muslim with my hijab. But within my art I try to display those parts of my identity in a more nuanced way, where it doesn’t just symbolize the entirety of who I am but it is just a part of me, there is still so much more to me, this the use of the lack of body within the Anak Dara series of work.Azzah Sultan to The Rakyat Post
For her Anak Dara showcase, she used batik fabric purchased in Penang and brought back to the US and drapes the fabrics together in artistic forms, adding hand-stitched effects or mixed paint to bring the art to life.
I was able to find fabrics, spices and objects of nostalgia simply by exploring my hometown with my parents and having them a part of the process of collecting these materials.Azzah Sultan to The Rakyat Post
In this collection, she designed her pieces using silhouettes of her mother’s and her own hands in various Malaysian dance moves that we may find intimately familiar. Her pieces also make use of negative space woven in with batik fabric.
Her largest designs are three almost full-sized hand-stitched batik fabric with acrylic paint on canvas titled Melipat, featuring our traditional wear.
These designs are on display and priced at $4,000 (around RM16,672) per piece!
There are not a lot of Muslim women doing art, so I felt the need to present myself in a certain way.Azzah Sultan to White Hot Magazine
Speaking to The Rakyat Post, she mentions that while she has not held any shows in Malaysia before, she would love the opportunity to do so.
I am currently working starting a new body of work soon and I hope in the future to display these artworks back home, InShaAllah.Azzah Sultan to The Rakyat Post
Congratulation to Azzah Sultan on her achievement! We hope to see more of her artistic endeavors and Malaysian-inspired art elsewhere and back home too!
Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.