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Malaysian Artist Profile: Christine Das

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“The canvas has become my visual diary: the place where I express my love and admiration for the sheer beauty of nature. At the same time, it is my reflections on life. Nature captured my attention when I was a child and it has my complete love. The Creator is a genius! Here, I find a growing connection with nature in relation to my life of self-discovery. Nature is just as mysterious as life and I love dwelling in it; nature gives me so much of wisdom and insight, and is my teacher, and muse. It gives me great joy and simultaneously moves me to tears. There is an urgent need for us all to respect and protect nature. We will perish without it. It is a fact we can no longer be ignorant about. I want my paintings to steer hearts towards the conservation of our natural heritage.”

The underlying truth of great art is a heart of passion, one that runs so deep that it’s impossible to constrain it. The zeal must have an outlet, and for a painter, that outlet is the canvas. But more than being an outlet, the art becomes a window to the heart of the artist.

This is certainly the case with Christine Das, a gifted painter who features as this month’s profiled artist. Christine was born and educated in Penang Island, Malaysia and obtained her formal arts education in graphic design at the Sain Academy of Arts Penang immediately after her secondary schooling and took that graphic design education into the workplace for 18 years as a graphic artist. That background is evident in the crisp lines and stylized, patterned motifs of her work.

Now living in Subang Jaya, Christine left her graphic artist career behind and, in 2007, took a big step and became a full-time visual artist. Her medium of choice is acrylic on canvas, and her typical theme is a subject matter close to her heart, nature. She feels strongly about the environment and she expresses this by her use of lines, strokes, shapes, and colours that are combined to produce her uniquely stylized imagery.

As a child, Christine’s artistic flair became evident when she used to doodle under the dining room table while lying on the floor, after learning the hard way that doodling on walls had consequences. Years on, this talent for art transformed into a livelihood, as she tried her hand at book illustrations, displays, murals, graphic design, and animation. A proud moment was being part of the backdrop crew for the Hollywood production Anna and the King, filmed in Malaysia in 1999. It was her first taste of realism painting on large backdrops under scenic artist Peter Collias and Matt Connors and it was this, as much as anything, that catalysed her love affair with painting.

Christine’s art style is highly recognisable as her own, and her exploration with colour is dramatic and daring. Indeed, her expressions are rather different from any artists we have featured previously. Not one to be hindered by conformity, there is certain freshness to Christine’s art. Her renditions also have a distinctive texture that exude a certain vibrancy and liveliness that invite closer inspection and appreciation.

With an abiding love for nature and its beauty, Christine indeed draws much of her inspiration from the natural wonders of her environment. However, in addition to her nature-oriented series, she has also done some Christianity-based pieces, most notably the “Stations of the Cross,” a 14-piece collection commissioned by the Church of Thomas More, a Catholic Church in Subang Jaya, Selangor.

Christine’s beautiful paintings have been featured in a number of exhibitions, both group and solo, and her story and works have also been published in Art Malaysia: Contemporary Art Magazine, as the feature story, “Christine Das: An Arboreal Journey of Life’s Seasons.”

We hope you enjoy these lovely expressions by this talented Penang-born artist. If any of Christine’s paintings are of particular interest, please contact [email protected] for prices and more detailed information.

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Source: The Expat December 2013

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