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Artist Profile: Cindy Cheah

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Our brilliant and striking cover for this October issue was done by Penang native and now Selangor resident, Cindy Cheah.

Cindy was born in Batang Berjuntai, Kuala Selangor, where her father worked as a dredge master in a tin mining company. She tells me her hobbies today are strongly influenced by her childhood. As a child, she would play with her brother in the tin mining yards and spent most of her days exploring the natural surroundings.

“My brother and I had to make a lot of our own toys; however, we enjoyed it because we had so much material around us to choose from and it stoked my creativity, something that has served me well as an artist. We always enjoyed a new adventure such as the simple pleasure of catching tadpoles and returning a few days later to see if they had turned into young frogs.”

She continues, “My teenage years were spent in Penang. It is truly a beautiful place to grow up with its friendly people and rich heritage. I felt surrounded by vivid colours and, of course, the blue sea.” Cindy majored in Art Education at University Malaya where she took part in exhibitions, and upon graduation, worked in an advertising agency, then joined Malaysia Airlines as a cabin crewmember.

After two decades away from art, however, she was suddenly passionately inspired by seeing a friend’s exhibition.

“And today, there is just no turning back as painting has brought me tremendous joy and satisfaction,” she enthuses to me. “I also enjoy any kind of craft work, baking and cake decorating, traveling, music and swimming. But being outside where I get to be in touch with nature… that is really what I live for.”

“Painting has become a way for me to express what I see, feel, and interpret in my daily life. It could be a beautiful moment, a place, an object or a memory. Cheerful vibrant colour absolutely captivates me. And I do use a lot of blue and purple in my paintings as it reminds me of the sea and its beautiful reflections. I work my way around the canvas using brush strokes, a palette knife, or any relevant, usable tools to create the paintings.

“What inspires me most is the beauty of nature around us. Painting is like a journey in life. Getting there is not the point. Stopping and smelling the roses, feeling the rain beat on me, the breeze blowing on my face and just enjoying every moment of the simple pleasures in life all positively impact me. Taking the road not taken and being surprised by happy accidents along the way… that is what I look for as an artist.”

Cindy is truly enthusiastic and passionate about her return to the world of art and specifically painting. She further explains:

“I travel on this journey in hope of reflecting the natural beauty around us. I also want to preserve the natural beauty of Malaysia for future generations to come. Today’s world of material wealth, expanding cities, and development has taken a toll on our environment. We need to remind ourselves to be kind and also grateful and appreciative for what we have. And that is what I attempt to do with my paintings.”
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If you are interested in buying any of Cindy’s paintings on these pages, please contact me at [email protected].

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Source: The Expat October 2012

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