6 Malaysian artists that should be on your radar


With the Merdeka celebrations already in full swing, it’s a good time to keep an eye on emerging Malaysian artists who are thriving in the local art scene and striving to get their art known.

Art lovers… let’s ditch our Picasso and Van Gogh glasses and venture into the works of our own Malaysian compatriots. Did you know that we have four local designers who will be featured at the upcoming FIND Design Fair Asia in Singapore – one of the largest furniture, interiors and design exhibitions in Southeast Asia?

We’re constantly expanding our art and design scene under our noses, so it’s high time our up-and-coming young artists got their well-deserved spotlight. From embroidery expert Anni Tai to object designer Jamie Kok, read below for our curated list of Malaysian artists who are thriving in the art scene and continue to make our nation proud.

These Malaysian artists are taking over the local art scene:

Annie Tai

Embroidery, alongside other creative pursuits – like knitting, crocheting and, of course, the art of perfecting Dalgona coffee – has boomed in times of lockdown. But Anni has always had the talent for craftsmanship and tells of her first attempts at sewing by patching buttons on her primary school uniform.

Inspired by her fascination with bouquets, the KL artist often incorporates floral motifs into her embroidery art. From simple and sweet designs to intricate patterns, Anni draws on themes of femininity, fleeting fame and self-expression in her work.

Anni is one of four artists represented in the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s (HKTB) ‘Arts in Hong Kong’ campaign, which brings together diverse artists from across Southeast Asia to create artworks inspired by Hong Kong’s enduring icons.

Check out Anni’s rich embroideries on her Instagram page HERE.

Pamela Tan

Coming from a background in architecture, multidisciplinary designer Pamela’s art focuses on the big picture as her work often includes sculpture and structure. Pamela, who now runs Poh Sin Studio, began producing her work in 2014 and has influenced nearly every large-scale concept: murals, installations, 3D printed jewelry, prints and more.

Her works explore the theme of environment and tradition, expressed through layers of spatial and experiential narratives. Pamela’s more prominent creations include an all-white immersive structure Garden of Eden at 163 Retail Park, Mont Kiara, which was awarded Bronze at the 2020 Design for Asia Awards for Environmental Design.

The Malaysian artist is showing a new art installation called Endless frames, which is currently on view at Kwai Chai Hong until October 2, 2022 as part of its exhibition Beyond the Moonlit Door 超月门窗. Here you will find intricate laser cut acrylic panels hung at various lengths, creating an illusion of taking you back in time through Chinese history. You can also visit Poh Sin Studio’s official Instagram page to learn more about Pamela’s art HERE.

Bono Stellar

If you like the concept of colors bouncing off surfaces or reflective art, check out Nawwar Shukriah Ali – or better known as Bono Stellar in the art community. An art director became a multidisciplinary artist; Born in Terengganu, Bono currently resides in Kuala Lumpur. She weaves colors into magic, creating art from iridescent foils, plexiglass and mirrors.

Regarding light and space as her true materials, Bono’s work encompasses drawings, visual merchandising, interior design, product design, installations and photography. She also combines references to art history and architecture with her experiences and personal reflections on her past, present and future.

In 2021, Bono collaborated with streetwear brand Vans by showing an installation at the Masjid Jamek LRT station as well as a wrap of an LRT train, which well illustrates their desire for audience engagement.

Check out Bono’s work on her Instagram page HERE.

Tan Wei Ming

Don’t we love it when artists blend modernity and tradition or create Western-inspired art with Asian influences? That’s what local designer Wei Ming strives for with her work. A typography student in the UK, Wei Ming adhered to the status quo of symmetry in art before turning to graphic design. Upon returning to KL, her passion for furniture and lighting design blossomed and she began exploring beyond the two-dimensional.

Today, Wei Ming creates in her own Aureole Design, a Malaysian studio that blends elegant lighting pieces with Asian influences. From now on, Wei Ming relies on her architectural expertise to create designs where geometry, form, proportion and balance come into play.

Discover more of Wei Ming’s work on the official Aureole Design Instagram page HERE.

Chong Fei Giap

If you are new to the Loka Made brand, we encourage you to check it out. Led by Malaysian artist Fei Giap, Loka Made is a brand that aims to ‘reintroduce’ the joys of Malaysia by showcasing their most underappreciated little things with twists, imagination and fantasy. Think anime-inspired paintings depicting Malaysian cityscapes and small town scenes in an art style reminiscent of Studio Ghibli on postcards, stickers, magnets, keychains, and greeting cards.

Self-taught and later professionally trained at One Academy, Fei Giap eventually discovered his own ‘voice’ in the art world by returning to his roots with pieces inspired by him Kampung Scenes from his grandfather’s convenience store in Kuala Pilah, Seremban. Inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s outstanding work, Fei Giap often adds that touch of fantasy magic to his art.

As his work has gained prominence across the internet, Fei Giap’s work has been shared and republished in several countries worldwide, earning him recognition as “The Artist from Malaysia”. Check out Fei Giap’s work on his Instagram page HERE.

Jamie Kok

Interior design is an underappreciated art form – especially when the concept has become so pervasive in modern media that it becomes difficult to pin down what “good” interior design is. EMPT Studio’s Jamie Kok wants to change that by applying traditional art rules to modern interior design. Beyond form and function, Jamie and his team work to create spaces that you can grow and shape over time.

EMPT Studio plays with colors and shapes to create the perfect lifestyle in a space. Think of it as object design but with experimental shapes and materials. Currently the EMPT studio is working on designing household furniture made from local tropical plywood using CNC machine cutting techniques.

Learn more about EMPT Studio HERE.

Hero photo credit: Instagram/@pohsin_studio; Credit for selected images: Instagram/@annitai_

This story appeared first on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur.


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