Forget selfies, get a caricature instead

Capturing the moment: Caricaturist Ahmad Shakirin working on a portrait at the SPICE Convention Centre PPV. — RENA LIM/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: While most vaccine recipients take selfies at vaccination centres (PPV) to commemorate their jabs, those at the Setia SPICE Convention Centre in Bayan Lepas were able to get their caricatures drawn.

At the Vaccine ‘Carry’ Carture Corner in the centre, three caricaturists – Ahmad Shakirin Mohd Zain, 52, Azmi Hussin, 37, and Syed Mohammad Mikhail Al Bokhari Syed Yusof Al Bokhari, 25 – would draw portraits of vaccine recipients upon request, for a fee ranging from RM10 to RM30.

Ahmad Shakirin, who draws and cosplays for a living, said they were happy to be allowed a slot within the PPV’s premises.

“I have been doing this as a living for 38 years and the pandemic has affected a lot of artists and those who run gigs like myself. To be able to be here is an opportunity for us to find an alternative way to earn a living.

“As we are unable to go for events or outdoor gigs, this really helps us,” he said when met recently.

State tourism and creative economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, who visited the Vaccine ‘Carry’ Carture Corner, said the state initiated the programme to help those in the creative industries who were affected by the pandemic.

“By allowing them to be present at commercial areas like the convention centre here, we can help them generate income and allow them to practise what they do.

“This opens a source of income for them and at the same time, opens up opportunities for the public to be exposed to the creative arts scene,” he told a press conference after his visit.

Yeoh said currently, there were three caricaturists involved in the programme and each of them take five to 10 minutes to draw a portrait.

“We hope the public can support them. They can sit and wait for their portraits to be drawn or leave a photo and come back to collect their portraits later.

“Presently, I believe we are the first state in the country that allows artists to be stationed at a PPV to help them amidst the pandemic.

“As there are many restrictions amidst the pandemic, PPV are now a place with the highest human traffic as many people come and go on a daily basis,” he added.

Yeoh said in mid-September, another initiative to allow artists to be stationed at PPV would be carried out at the PPV at Vangohh Eminent Hotel in Machang Bubok, Bukit Mertajam.

Penang State Museum and Art Gallery director Haryany Mohamad said they were happy to be able to collaborate with artists and the state to open up opportunities to help local talents.

“Many of them were affected by the pandemic. In the case of caricaturists, they need even more exposure and help as it is hard for them to take their arts online.

“The portraits they draw and sell are not expensive, and are considered cheap so it would be harder for people to buy these as not many would be willing to pay postage for such portraits.”

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