Artful expression of love

Rozlina (right) presenting a bouquet of flowers to her mother, Noriah. — Photos: SHAARI CHEMAT/The Star

KNOWING how much her mother loves flowers, artist Rozlina Mohd Khairi, 53, has dedicated her latest solo exhibition to honour her.

Rozlina, better known as Lyna Khairi, will be exhibiting her collection of 42 paintings and 17 ceramic artworks with floral theme at the Inner Joy Art Gallery in Petaling Jaya until June 23.‘Blooms in Her Heart I’, a 102cm by 102cm piece featuring acrylic and oil on canvas.‘Blooms in Her Heart I’, a 102cm by 102cm piece featuring acrylic and oil on canvas.

“I started with the sketches in April last year before finishing the last piece early this May,” said Rozlina.

There was no shortage of inspiration where the subject matter was concerned.

“There are flowers in every corner of my mother’s house in Teluk Intan, Perak; not just in her garden. They are on table mats, mugs, kitchen tiles and in vases, albeit artificial, but still arranged by her own hands.

“Even her dresses and scarves have flowery prints. There is a perennial flower garden in her heart.”

Using a combination of mixed mediums, a large part of Rozlina’s work demonstrates her adeptness with the palette knife and preference for abstract compositions.‘The Yellow Petals II’,  a piece depicting the flowers found in the kitchen of the artist’s mother.‘The Yellow Petals II’, a piece depicting the flowers found in the kitchen of the artist’s mother.

Of the latter, it would be inspired by the lines of a certain shape or form.

A case in point is the texture of the delicate petals of the wild orchids in her mother’s garden depicted in the artist’s The Petal Series: The Wild Orchid – a 60cm by 60cm limited edition featuring papier mache.

Attention to detail is evident in the lines of the shield frond of a Staghorn fern in a painting, as well as the umbrella-like leaves of the Asiatic pennyworth growing in a pond, featuring hand-sculpted, air-dried clay on canvas.

To mark this special dedication at the opening ceremony, the artist, who also lives with her mother, Noriah Zainal Abidin, 79, brought the elder all the way from Teluk Intan for the occasion.

“I am celebrating her birthday as well as honouring her for Mothers Day by dedicating this exhibition to her,” said Rozlina.

It was an emotional moment for the artist.

Guests at Rozlina’s third solo exhibition.Guests at Rozlina’s third solo exhibition.

While thanking her mother for agreeing to come to her exhibition, she teared up. Significantly, she presented a bouquet of flowers to her mum.

“I came because she asked me to, and I wanted to please her,” said Noriah.

She added that she had always loved flowers, fascinated by the way they would transform from bud to beautiful bloom.

“At one time, I had over 500 plants in my garden – orchids, Japanese roses, hydrangeas. I had all the varieties,” said the retired teacher.

Now, despite having to rely on a walking stick, the mother of three is still an avid gardener.

Fellow abstract artist Irwan Idris looking at a wind chime at the opening ceremony.Fellow abstract artist Irwan Idris looking at a wind chime at the opening ceremony.

“The number of plants is less as I am unable to care for so many. I only have 200 now,” said Noriah.

In describing her relationship with her daughter as an affectionate one, Noriah said there were no words to describe the joy she felt for being this appreciated.

“But I am not surprised at the gesture. My daughter is a loving person by nature. She is very close to her family. Even for this opening ceremony, she invited some 20 of our relatives,” said Noriah.

Also present at the opening was Datuk Ahmad Lothfi Ibrahim, 55, who is president of Gabungan Angkatan Persatuan Pelukis SeMalaysia as well as Persatuan Pelukis Perak.

Ahmad Lothfi said he was in the midst of cleaning his house in Ipoh, Perak, when he suddenly remembered he had to attend Rozlina’s event.

Barely making it in time for the opening ceremony, he said he would not have missed it for the world due to the special regard the artist had for the theme of her exhibition.

“Though Rozlina told me that her show was simply about her experience with her mother, I saw it as symbolic of a deep love between mother and child,” he said.

He added that the emphasis on inner love was a crucial component in creating a more compassionate society.

Blooming in Her Heart, the title of the artist’s latest collection, is her third solo exhibition.

Rozlina majored in painting and sculpture at Universiti Teknologi Mara. She also gives lessons to children with special needs.

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