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Malaysian Artist Profile: Nell-Lynn Perera

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I paint my feelings.

I begin a piece from being struck with an urge or what I like to refer to a ‘calling’ to paint. I do not first sketch what I intend to paint since I do not have an image of what I am about to paint in my mind. I only see colour. Forms start to come to life eventually with each stroke. I paint from many perspectives until something greater speaks to me. At this point, I follow this voice and cease painting in all other directions. This method of painting provides me the freedom to paint freely and it brings something fresh and new to each painting while it allows my distinct style to be recognised. I know a painting is done when the calling ceases, when I feel rested spiritually and physically.

Red is almost always dominant in my paintings. It expresses my passion, pain, feelings of adoration, love and it allows me to reach a secret honourable place which resides within me. I have no deep inclination towards any other colour because of this.

Though my feelings are personal, when people view my art I’d also like them to have feelings rise in them, too. Whether these feelings are similar to mine does not hold a lot of importance to me. It is the ability to evoke and move and to communicate with people through my art that I consider priceless.

Nell-Lynn Perera is in her late 20s and is a personal manifestation of a growing trend within the art community in Malaysia, that of a mastery of multiple platforms of media both to get her message out about her art and to absorb different viewpoints and information around her to her feed her creative needs. Her Facebook page is very active and I found it very inspiring. She would like to share it with our readers so check out www.facebook.com/InsightsofNin.

Nell is indeed creative especially with the way she produces a painting. First she drops a small amount of colour pigment and lets it dribble onto her canvas, and begins to watch the rivulets form downward and sideways. She adds more colour, usually a bright red, and as she watches the paints move, she forms her concepts of the theme. She finds this process to be keenly spiritual in nature.

In what I consider to currently be her signature piece, Coming Home, the painting conveys the essence of who Nell is as a mature person. After many years, indeed almost since her first conscious thoughts and now after years of deep introspection, reading a diverse variety of philosophical texts, traveling widely including living a few years on Bali imbuing its spiritualism, she finally know herself. This is why she has left the face blank. She explained to me, “People need labels in order to stereotype things. They like putting things into boxes. I’d never admit that I am spiritual nor would I say it’s my religion. It’s a way of life… Ways of thinking that points to self-liberation.

“Some people think Spirituality is a new age thing but it’s probably one of the oldest practices before religion came into existence. Spirituality showed and revealed many things. I put into practice what I had come to know. I tested it out and I saw for myself how it worked, how it served me. My life changed though life itself hadn’t.

“It was like I had been given a new set of eyes. I realised how distorted my vision was before.

“My heart feels bigger than it was. I feel things immensely, sadness being one of them but no longer do I dwell in it for days, weeks. Even as I feel any feelings, I am aware of it taking place. I am able to allow unwanted feelings to reside within me without spiralling downwards much better than I ever was.

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“The day I understood and knew that above everything, I am Spirit, I was liberated from my mind and its endless thoughts.”

She sums up by saying, “We are what we think.” Hence the blank face. It is for us to fill in.

Nell-Lynn’s works are sold at many art galleries since her breakout success in Bali about three years ago. However, please contact me at [email protected] if you are interested in purchasing any on these pages as she has priced them just for The Expat readers.

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Source: The Expat April 2013

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