Malaysian artist creates portraits of country’s founding fathers using just her thumb

Malaysia is set to celebrate its independence day on August 31.

Despite social distancing measures, there’s no stopping the people of this Southeast Asian nation from celebrating the country’s birthday. Malaysia achieved independence from British rule on August 31, 1957.

To celebrate the occasion, one Malaysian artist decided to create a painting of the country’s first prime minister and founding father, Tunku Abdul Rahman.

IMAGE: Vivian Ng.

Only, the painting is slightly unique. Unlike other artists who would use paintbrushes to create these works of art, Ng used her thumb instead.

“I feel thumbprint art is iconic and irreplaceable,” Ng tells Mashable Southeast Asia.

The 28-year-old who is also the founder of Niuniu’s Gallery said that she had researched other forms of arts on Google before finally deciding to go with thumbprint art.

IMAGE: Vivian Ng.

Ng adds that the title of her artwork of Tunku Abdul Rahman is ‘Hargai Keharmonian’ which loosely translates to ‘Appreciate Harmony’ in Malay, the country’s national language.

“I chose the thumbprint method to pay tribute to Tunku’s contributions to the nation. This art symbolizes peace and harmony in Malaysia.”

Tunku’s portrait, measuring 180cm in length by 126cm in width, is the only colored piece. Ng also created two other paintings of the late Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Tun VT Sambanthan who were instrumental in achieving independence for Malaysia.

The three founding fathers traveled to London to convince the British to allow then Malaya to become an independent state. So the colors used on Tunku’s artwork symbolize the three major races who make up the Malaysian demographic: Malays, Chinese, and Indians.

For Ng, her portraits represent unity and the importance for Malaysians to remain together as a nation. Each portrait is made out of a total of nine canvases.

Ng has submitted an application for all three artworks to be displayed at Malaysia’s National Art Gallery, as she feels it’ll make a fitting patriotic tribute, especially during this month.

“But if there’s interest by Malaysians who wish to take home these artworks, I’m selling the Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Tun VT Sambanthan artworks for RM6,666 (US$1,597) and Tunku Abdul Rahman’s one for RM8,888 (US$2,129).”

If you’re interested, you can get in touch with Ng directly on her Instagram or her email: [email protected]

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Cover image sourced from Vivian Ng.