Malaysian hobbyist artist hopes to inspire others not to give up with his art


  • Seniors
  • Friday, 02 Jul 2021

Dina putting the finishing touchings on his artwork. Photo: Dina Rizal

Former sports marketing manager Datuk Dina Rizal, 71, is an avid sportsman who played football in his early years and golf in his forties. He also started Sports Unite, a club that organises free junior sports events for kindergarten- and primary-school-aged children to promote unity and harmony. So it was really difficult for him when the pandemic hit and the MCO was imposed because he wasn’t able to go out to play golf or organise any sports activities for children, he says.

With all that time at home, Dina turned to one of his loves while growing up – art.

He says he has always been interested in art but only started seriously pursuing it during the MCO last March.

“I used to do watercolour painting when I was in secondary school,” says Dina who grew up in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.

“As I grew up, I continued to dabble in it. I even helped to design and paint floats for the Wesak Day processions together with the other youth in the temple,” he says, revealing that he used to be a Buddhist but converted to Islam in 1978 when he married his Muslim wife.

Dina has kept busy during the pandemic with a series of landscape works and more. Photo: Dina RizalDina has kept busy during the pandemic with a series of landscape works and more. Photo: Dina Rizal

“My art helps me release stress from the boredom of being cooped up at home. It also brings me joy and peace of mind,” he adds.

“Besides, I had all that time on my hands since I can’t go out to play golf, ” he says, adding with a laugh that he used to play six times a week with his friends.

He has completed over 20 drawings since March last year, using oil pastels as his main medium. Dina highlights that one of his most meaningful pieces is Colours Of Life After Covid (June 2021) which, although colourful and vibrant, was inspired by a sad incident. He started work on it a few days after his close friend and peer had passed away from Covid-19.

Dina with his painting Colours Of Life After Covid. Photo: Dina RizalDina with his painting Colours Of Life After Covid. Photo: Dina Rizal

“It was a really sad moment but as I thought about it, I realised that even though we may feel sad, we mustn’t become pessimistic and start looking at life in a negative way,” he explains.

That’s why the drawing is so colourful and full of life, he adds, saying that he wanted his art to give hope to people who may have gone through sadness and difficulties during the pandemic.

“And even though it’s worrisome that there are now over 750k cases and more than 5, 000 deaths from Covid-19 – a most difficult time in our nation’s history – there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we will get through this together so life must go on,” he says.

“When people see my art, I want them to see the light at the end of the tunnel, that there is hope of life after Covid.

“Perhaps when more people are vaccinated by the end of this year, we can colour our lives again,” says Dina who received the first dose of his vaccine last month.

Crying Eye, a pandemic-inspired painting by Dina. Photo: Dina RizalCrying Eye, a pandemic-inspired painting by Dina. Photo: Dina Rizal

Dina also highlights another of his pandemic-themed pieces titled Crying Eye (May 2021), which he did earlier.

“When I saw the number of cases and deaths increasing, I felt a sense of sadness. It was almost like the nation was bleeding and crying.

“I painted this piece thinking, it’s OK to cry, but after that, we need to get back on our feet and move on, we mustn’t lose hope,” he says.

Dina says that he hasn’t sold or exhibited any of his artwork, and that it’s “just a hobby” to him. Most of his art has been gifted to family and friends.

“I’ve a daughter who lives at home and two sons who are married and living in Kuala Lumpur and Seremban, and four grandchildren,” he beams.

Dina's two paintings for his grandchildren (from left) Dayanara, Micaela and Enzo, who are pictured with their parents, Shameez Reza (in black) and Amanda. Photo: Dina RizalDina's two paintings for his grandchildren (from left) Dayanara, Micaela and Enzo, who are pictured with their parents, Shameez Reza (in black) and Amanda. Photo: Dina Rizal

“So I’ve drawn some pieces for them. My four-year-old granddaughter is fascinated by the moon, and says that one day, she’d like to touch the moon, so I did a piece of her reaching out to touch the moon,” he smiles.

“My grandson likes animals, especially cats, so I’ve drawn a cat for him. And my daughter likes horses, so I’ve drawn a horse for her,” he says.

While he used to do watercolour painting when he was younger, Dina now prefers to use oil pastels for his art.

“I like working with oil pastels. They are like crayons and stronger than colour pencils. It’s very difficult to correct mistakes using watercolours. But with oil pastels, it’s more flexible,” he explains, adding that it takes him about three to four hours to complete a drawing.

Dina also does black and white drawings using HB pencils or charcoal, and Islamic calligraphy.

Dina’s black and white sketches of a Maori girl, horse and manta ray, using HB pencil and charcoal, were gifted to his daughter Sheena Ayesha, who loves Maori culture, horses and undersea life. Photo: Dina RizalDina’s black and white sketches of a Maori girl, horse and manta ray, using HB pencil and charcoal, were gifted to his daughter Sheena Ayesha, who loves Maori culture, horses and undersea life. Photo: Dina Rizal

His favourite subject to draw is nature.

“I like to do art on positive topics. I’ve done many pieces on nature, including sunrises, sunsets, waves, animals, and birds. These are all God’s creations just like us human beings, and they remind us how important it is to look after the environment and the world around us,” he concludes.

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family , lifestyle , seniors , artist , pandemic pastimes

   

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