Malaysian artist's time to shine

  • People
  • Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013

The first showcase abroad for a Malaysian artist turns out to be a fulfilling one.

IT HAS been a week since my RAW Artist Showcase in Phoenix, Arizona. I’m very thankful for the lessons and the opportunity life has given me.

What a great evening it was. I am finally landing back on my feet from cloud nine. This was my first showcase and what a confidence booster of an experience.

(Back in May, I submitted my portfolio online to be reviewed by the people behind RAW: natural born artists, which is touted as an independent arts organisation for artists, by artists. Within a week, I received an invitation to participate in its showcase in the United States.)

The morning of my showcase, I woke up feeling exhilarated. My brother drove me to the Monarch Theater, which is a 40-minute drive from where we live. On the way there, my mind kept running through the inventory checklist, “Did I forget something? Do I have everything I need?”

The evening was filled with musical performances and fashion shows, including this group performance.
The evening was filled with musical performances and fashion shows, including this group performance.

Come to think of it, it’s been a constant worry since I boarded the plane from Malaysia. I guess it’s only natural you have these thoughts when you want to do your best. I know I had to balance between creating as much as I could and staying sane at the same time.

At the theatre, we set-up the space and displays at 2pm. I happily wore my own creation – a fashion accessory – and got dressed for the show by 5pm, followed by an interview with the RAW team an hour later. Like clockwork, everything fell into place without a glitch.

Guests were already waiting at the entrance as early as 6pm and on cue, the event started at 7pm sharp. The evening was filled with performances and fashion shows, and had a continuous flow of entertainment and people coming to see all of the artists’ masterpieces.

I was so thrilled by how well guests received my creations. I showcased my fashion accessories and fine art photography which were divided into three categories: fashion, campaign and photo art (turning digital photos into works of art using a variety of graphic software and mixed media).

My creations are called Sarlaz. The part I enjoyed the most was when a customer said, “I am really picky about getting artistic creations and when I saw yours, it just spoke to me and I had to have it.” She then left with a few of my creations.

Handmade neck ring choker necklace with ribbon wrap.
Handmade neck ring choker necklace with ribbon wrap.

There was also another customer who bought the ring I was wearing that night. It was touching to see so many smiling faces there to support me and I was also lucky to have my brother and a good friend by my side that night. It made me more confident than I was. I sure did miss my family and friends back home in Malaysia though.

I would like to take this opportunity to say “Thank you” to all those who purchased tickets for my show and for buying my creations.

Satisfied customers who bought rings and other accessories from Sarla.
Satisfied customers who bought rings and other accessories from Sarla.

The event director of RAW Phoenix, Laura Fischer was very helpful and accommodating to my needs and even attended to all my calls when I was in Malaysia, despite the time difference.

I was also able to meet some amazing people, made a couple of new friends and forged a web of supportive connections.

I am grateful for the opportunity to share my own self-expression in an environment that believes in the cultivation of the arts. Artists really understand one another, mainly because we can relate experiences and sensitivities we’ve had on our journey to embrace ourselves.

I am just amazed of the many unique expressions of creative overdrive under one roof. RAW far exceeded my expectations and I realised that this type of event, one in which people come out to appreciate and buy at the same time is where I needed to be. I also realised the need to enjoy the moment and go with the flow no matter how nervous I am.

Sarla's display space at RAW Artist Showcase in Phoenix.
Sarla’s display space at RAW Artist Showcase.

Designing had always been my passion, and creating interesting visuals through fine art photography is important to my soul.

For those who are unsure about fine art photography, it is photography created in accordance with the vision of the artist. My inspirational muses are the natural world, especially animals (I am an ardent animal lover) and beautiful mystical and ancient worlds, and the celebration of life.

I am extremely appreciative to RAW for supporting the visionary arts. Work of arts is a universal language that connects people who can resonate with it. RAW is a bridging entity in supporting all genres of art including independent film, fashion, photography, music, visual art, performing art, make-up artistry and more.

I’m excited to see where this creative journey takes me. I am also very happy that I had my trusty Canon camera with me, capturing this memorable night. It captures beautiful pictorial effects, and its enhanced image stabilisation is a real plus. Awesome video-capturing capabilities in full HD with simple user-friendly controls made it easier. It’s in a class of its own, my Canon.

> N. Sarla Devi is an editorial artist with The Star.

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