Art at the end of Abigail Asrina’s hyper-realistic pen

By Jude Toyat
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Adele closeup.

Adele closeup.

It is an amazing feeling of accomplishment for artists whenever they see their artwork beyond its aesthetics and feel objects brought to life through a serious of brushstrokes.

For hyper realist Abigail Asrina, she believes that people see things differently and the subject of beauty is very subjective, including in the arts.

With artwork being a strongly visual medium, it’s understandable that people see art as something to look at rather than to think about. She hopes to bring that connection to the next level and that society can see art beyond its beauty and the artist’s self-expression.

Earlier works.

Earlier works.

“I hope to see more people who know how to really appreciate art because not only does it serves as a platform for us – the artists to express ourselves – but also a mirror for the deeper aspects of humanity and culture among art practitioners as well as the non-art community.

“When people do appreciate my artwork, it really makes me feel good about what I do,” said the 21-year-old Kuchingite when met here recently.

Better known as Abs or Kecik, her immense talent in art was discovered at the age of 16.

“I started by drawing a painting for my teacher and she told me that I have the talent to draw portraits. With her encouragement, I became more determined to draw even more detailed portraits and the love for drawing had brought me to become a hyper realist artist because I can see it as a challenge considering it is a very detailed kind of art,” she said.


Abs showing off her art journal.

The former Universiti Tun Abdul Razak law student decided to quit a government funded scholarship programme in 2013 to pursue her Diploma in Animation and Multimedia Design at Limkokwing University in Kuching the following year to continue her lifetime passion in the arts.

“My parents were upset that I had neglected the scholarship but as years pass by, they have gradually accepted and supported my passion in arts as they can see how far I can go.

“I took part in several art exhibitions when I was in Peninsular Malaysia to expose my artwork and got very fortunate to be able to draw portraits for the former Chief Judge of Malaysia Tan Sri Siti Norma Yaakob and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad,” she said happily.

International World Women's Day held at Suria KLCC in Kuala Lumpur recently was one of the platforms for Abs to showcase her artwork.

International World Women’s Day held at Suria KLCC in Kuala Lumpur recently was one of the platforms for Abs to showcase her artwork.

Abs confessed that whenever she draws, she feels at complete peace with the universe and that had ignited her passion for artistic expression.

“My art usually revolves around human faces which for me are very captivating. There is something about people’s faces if you look at them in great detail as it tells a story of a person behind their faces,” she said, adding that she executes her artwork in various mediums including pen and pencil.

Although she did not take any course in art, Abs gained a lot of her exposure through frequent visits to art exhibitions and learning from other experts in the field.

Women's Day Drawing.

A drawing in honour of Women’s Day.

“I am also inspired by James Wan, a local who is best known for directing ‘The Conjuring’ movie franchise. He is living proof that Sarawakians are able to reach their utmost potential when given the chance to use their talents. I hope to be successful like him too one day, but specialising in animation and multimedia design,” she added.

One of the major challenges that an artist must face, for Abs, is the originality of an artwork.

“In today’s digital world, originality is a crucial aspect of an artwork. There are lots of people who still argue about it by saying that the artwork was a result of a meticulous photo-editing processes.

“One of the ways that I use to make people believe that it is my own artwork is by not laminating the drawings so they can touch and feel that it is a real pencil drawing and through live drawing. The value of the art itself is at its utmost priority,” she commented.

With Tan Sri Dato Sri Dr Limkokwing.

With the Limkokwing founder and the subject of the sketch himself.

Abs who aspires to become a world renowned realistic oil painter hopes to bring Sarawak to a greater level in the field of arts.

“I hope to break the barrier of our local arts which is currently underrated. I wish to continue my education overseas where there are limitless possibilities and wider opportunities for an art enthusiast like me,” she said, hoping to open her own art shop to further develop her art.

If there is any advice that she could give to other aspiring artists out there, Abs said that it would be to experiment with all types of arts until you find one that you really like and suits you well.

“There are lots of young artists who really don’t know the types of art they will be pursuing and tend to follow the footsteps of their seniors which may differ with their own identity.”

Abs, who disagreed that art did not bring any income advised local artists to persevere in the face of what others may say because their opinion doesn’t define their life and future.

“I wish to break the mainstream set by society and show to people that with courage and faith in what we are passionate at, we artists can go far in life too.

“People may think that art cannot sustain us financially, but they will be amazed to know that it actually does and many local talented artists have proved them wrong. The important thing here is to create your own distinctive identity and always believe in yourself and the talent that you are blessed with.”



Lim Kok Wing portrait.

A portrait of  Limkokwing founder, Tan Sri Datuk Sri Paduka Dr Lim Kok Wing.

Professor Dumbledore portrait.

A Professor Dumbledore portrait.

Work in progress.

Work in progress.

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