“OUR culture and traditions are at risk of disappearing, swept away by the waves of progress and modernity. The intention behind these paintings is to preserve these cultural elements by infusing them into artwork that is accessible to a wider demographic.”
Meet Nia Latif, a self-taught artist and designer who was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, but is based in Kuching, Sarawak. Describing 15 pieces of her artwork displayed at a Soft Art Exhibition entitled ‘Culture Galore Series’ held at Pustaka Negeri Sarawak, Petra Jaya recently, Nia said that art is about infinite adaptation and expression.
She hopes the paintings – which are presented with a refreshingly modern twist and adapting old themes to modernday sensibilities – can educate the younger generation on our heritage. Elaborating more on her exhibition, Nia said, “The ladies depicted in this artwork, and the attire they are wearing represent modern society, whilst the motifs and accessories they are wearing embody the culture they have inherited from past generations.
The vibrant colours used to create these paintings signify the richness of Sarawak’s diversity, ethnicity and culture with its wellknown bio-diverse rainforest.” Nia’s inspiration comes from her Melanau and Iban extended family background.
She spends most of her time visiting the kampongs (villages) and her fascination on everything traditional, ranging from costumes, tattoos, home-ware, delicacies, cultural dances – everything about local culture. Through her art, she aspires to portray the pride of Cat City by continuously producing artwork related to cats and infusing a story of Borneo heritage and the beautiful rainforest surrounding.
A member of Sarawak Artist Society, Nia loves to explore and experiment new ways and ideas. Her work reviews an intricate pattern and detail.
She is also a co-organiser for the ‘Small Town Art Market’ and ‘Little Entrepreneurs Workshops’ and ‘Junior Art market’, and is currently involved in various community-based projects supporting good causes besides conducting various workshops for both adults and children. Her works are mostly sold to foreigners and private collectors and can be viewed through her instagram page @vnialatif and she can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org