Noor Sarah Mohamed Reza believes that remembering and embracing our roots are important to keep our traditions alive. Together with her eight-year-old son, they expressed their love for Sarawak through their artwork, churning out paintings that embodied the cultural diversity of their beloved state.
Fascinated by colours
Sarawakian Noor Sarah Mohamed Reza believes that it is vital to embrace her roots and culture as it represents who she is. Through her art, Sarah had instilled the rich diversity we have here.
While doing so, she revealed that she discovered Sarawak even more. “After I’ve researched more about the cultures while working on my art, I find it even more important to embrace our traditions.”
Despite currently living in Kuala Lumpur with her eight-year-old son, Rayyan, Sarah admits that she never stopped being a Sarawakian. She continues to expose her son to Sarawak’s culture through food, language and art.
Her love for Sarawak is deep, as she shared that a huge part of her childhood was spent in the state. “I have tonnes of great memories close to my heart with my families and friends. What makes it even more special was the house that I stayed in as a child was designed by my own father.
“Something always draws me back to Kuching. My paintings mostly represent the various ethnicities in Sarawak. I do a great deal of research before drawing, and it makes me miss Kuching at times,” she added.
A year into being a full-time artist, Sarah recalled that she was always interested in art since she was a little girl. “According to my mother, I started drawing when I was four. Aside from that, art has always been my favourite subject in school.
“I have always been fascinated by colours which explains why I loved colouring and painting,” the 30-year-old shared.
She recalled her first art exhibition organised by her school when she was 10. Sarah said her artworks were sold out. “And the buyers were my parents,” she chuckled.
From there, she had a taste of her first income from art, worth RM30.
Albeit her love for art and her ambition to be an architect, Sarah pursued her studies in Mass Communication. “I didn’t do so well in Additional Mathematics, and while I was considering Accounting, I did not like Mathematics that much.”
Sarah’s pursuit in the field was due to her admiration for a Singaporean media personality, “I wanted to be like her. Furthermore, art was never in my mind because it was something that people don’t consider as a full time job, unfortunately.”
Although she graduated in communication and media management, she always found herself in art-related odd jobs throughout her self-discovery years. Hence, when she was given the opportunity for an art booth during an event last year, to her surprise, the first series of her paintings sold out.
“The rest is history. Though I never thought of art as a career until last August, now I can picture myself growing old and forever painting,” said the Malay-Chinese lass.
Sarah regularly works with watercolours. At times, she would also use acrylics on canvas, and recently, she has taken a liking for gouache and acrylic gouache.
As a full-time artist, Sarah dedicates her time at least six to eight hours to creating artworks or practising the various techniques. To her, each day is different. Some days, she would enrol in online courses or take up a random art class to brush her skills and learn new techniques.
Sarah’s son Rayyan was born in Kuala Lumpur. “However, he is still a Sarawakian! As my son, Rayyan’s greatest talent is in art too,” she affirmed.
“He loves drawing and just like his mama, he started drawing when he was four.” According to a proud Sarah, Rayyan can spend hours drawing as it is his form of expressing himself. She also sent him to art classes to continuously enhance his skills and learn new techniques.
The young artist draws on a daily basis. “After he comes home from school and does his homework, he plays with his toys or draws, with the companionship of the television,” she said.
The theme of his drawings depended on his current interest. “At one time, it was the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) building. Then it was aeroplanes. Now it seems to be human figures such as soldiers or the cast of the Stranger Things series.” To her, it is always interesting to observe Rayyan apply the techniques that he had learned onto his artworks.
As Sarah’s booth-buddy, Rayyan also sells his artworks together with her. “This can help build his confidence and shows that his artwork can sell! He enjoys booth life as well, as we get to meet art lovers who appreciate us and our work,” Sarah said.
To view more of Sarah’s artwork, you can follow her on Instagram @senisara.my.
Rayyan’s artwork can be viewed at his Instagram at @senirayyan.