SARATOK: Physical disability does not hinder artist Laura Dudum from earning a living.
Like many other people, she lost her job after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world last year.
Since then, the woman, who suffered from cerebral palsy since birth, spends about five hours daily in her bedroom to produce drawings that are now her main source of income.
She considers the bedroom her creative studio, “I have been a part-time make-up artist since 2017. However, due to Covid-19, I have lost my job.
“Fortunately, I was endowed with the ability to draw. Therefore, I decided to use that advantage as my new source of income.
“For the past 10 months, the bedroom has been the most comfortable and inspiring place for me to produce drawing orders from customers.
“I am very grateful to my family, especially my elder sister, Liza who has helped me a lot financially when I decided to return to drawing,” said the 38-year-old.
Further elaborating, Laura, fondly known as Bibi, said although she has been active in drawing since she was seven years old. The first portrait she produced — that of her best friend, Jane Chua — was her main motivator in the field.
“Apart from being a source of income, by drawing, I also get satisfaction, especially when my customers like my artworks. Some of them are even willing to pay more for them,” she said, adding she had produced more than 20 drawings since April last year.
Asked who her idol was, Laura said she really admired Nick Vujicic because he shared a lot of real-life stories of people with disabilities who were also capable of succeeding like normal human beings.
The Siberian-Australian evangelist and motivational speaker is born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterised by the absence of all four limbs.
“I often watch his videos — his words really motivate me not to see my own shortcomings as an excuse not to succeed.
“Apart from asking God to give me the strength every day to go through the coming days, I am also very grateful to have a family that always supports me,” stated this determined lady.
Laura, who is a fan of Miss Universe Malaysia 2020 Francisca Luhong James, said the portrait of Francisca, which she drew in two days, was the most meaningful to her because she (Francisca) was able to prove that Sarawakian could also succeed if they worked hard.
Laura, who now lives in Sungai Nyurok, Budu here, said she uses A3 size paper for each sketch she produces, which takes two days or more to complete depending on her free time.
Members of the public who wish to get Laura’s drawing service can visit her Facebook page Ziby Zeis.
Laura charges as low as RM50 for each single art sketch drawing and RM100 for a couple art sketch. For customers who are outside Saratok area, an additional charge of RM10 will be charged.