From the lens of an empathic teenage artist; Mulaika Nordin

SITI NURFATIHAH PIRDAUS
SITI NURFATIHAH PIRDAUS
31 Dec 2021 03:39pm
Mulaika Nordin
Mulaika Nordin
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With her young age and refreshing persona, 18 year-old Mulaika Nordin might leave you wondering how this teenager is able to produce such dark, soulful paintings, which was seen lined up against the walls of her second exhibition, “I Know You’re Somewhere Far Away” at Ken Gallery at Menara Ken, Taman Tun Dr Ismail.

She is an intriguing contradiction from the image of a simple-minded teenager some people might connect her to.

The artist carries herself with maturity and wisdom hidden behind her few words. Upon engaging with her, suddenly it all makes sense how she became the youngest artist to have had a solo exhibition at the National Art Gallery two years ago.

According to Mulaika, the second exhibition is all about her relationship with herself and she came up with the title “I Know You’re Somewhere Far Away”. It's an ode to her childhood, as she bids goodbye to her younger days and takes an optimistic step towards the next chapter of her life.

Her solo exhibition highlights the disconnection and isolation that many people can relate to during the lockdown period, specifically in 2020 and 2021.

When asked about her mental health during the pandemic, Mulaika shared with Sinar Daily that she did face some challenges as her mental health was quite unstable during that time but she started an online therapy and an Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy which helped her get through hard times. However, it was the total opposite for her art as she incorporated brighter elements for her artworks during the lockdown.

"Surprisingly, my art became a lot brighter when the lockdown started and the changes during the period is that I used all these bright colors as a coping mechanism, just to feel okay," she said. She also shared her anticipation for her second exhibition since it had been put on hold due to the restrictions for physical events caused by Covid-19 pandemic.

“I waited for the exhibition for 3 years and I was so emotional when I came here today, like I’ve waited so long and it’s finally happening,” she said.

She expressed her gratitude for those supporting her art and stated that seeing all the paintings she made while going through a rough patch in the past 4 years meant a lot to her. It took her a minute to consider about her favorite painting in the exhibition before finally putting her finger on a dark and heavy painting called ‘Aurora’. “I like my ‘Aurora’ so much because it’s so honest and true to what happened to me or what I was feeling then,” she explained.

Another highlight of the exhibition is the ‘Every 40 Seconds’ art she produced where she used a single pen to write the names and causes of people who committed suicide all around the world until the ink dried out.

She said that she came up with the idea and did it straight away on paper instead of canvas since that was the only thing she had at that time.

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“I think it was the most direct thing in the show and because suicide is something so big, I just wanted to see it in a more statistical way,” she added.Mulaika’s second exhibition, “I Know You’re Somewhere Far Away” was officially launched by Nori Abdullah Badawi in December and it comprises 63 works of art completed in the last four years, exploring themes of disconnecting and isolation from the lens of an empathic teenage artist as she navigated a constantly changing environment culminating in the period of the global pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

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