Painting with Passion

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When Lakshmi Aru was a young girl growing up in Alor Star, Kedah, she learned painting from two influential male figures in her life. She said, “Growing up in Alor Setar, Kedah, I was fortunate enough to have a doctor father who taught me how to draw and an art teacher (a professional artist himself) who taught me the basics of different art techniques.”

Lakshmi got married at 19 years old and soon after, moved to Australia with her husband. Several years later, her husband was in need of some artwork for his office and asked if she could create some paintings. She happily obliged, and her love for painting begun to blossom.

As a self-taught artist, she spent hours during the early years teaching herself about art through reading, trial and error, and experimentation in the dead of the night while her children slept.

Lakshmi Aru

She is now back in Malaysia, with no signs of slowing down in terms of painting. Lakshmi said, “Since I started all those years ago, I never stopped. My passion grew and I began painting every day. When the kids were younger, all I had was a small corner to paint in. Now I have my own studio in my home. Having lived in Australia and Papua New Guinea, I was exposed to a lot of nature. A recurring theme in my works is also paddy fields from memories of my childhood in Kedah.”

Another recurring theme in her works is birds. “I’m drawn to them as they signify freedom, and I am always taken by their beauty, and it’s something I can’t express in words. I saw so many different and unique flora and fauna during my travels that really inspired my art. I tend to paint with vibrant colours as a result of my Indian heritage influence.”

Bird & Hibiscus, KL (2014), Acrylic on Canvas

Having spent much of her time raising three children, 52-year-old Lakshmi was happy to have painting as her outlet. “It gave me something of my own to do, a way for me to express my individuality and grow as an artist. I never stopped learning; I took up a mosaic course in 2004. I am mainly an expressionist-inspired artist. I also do a lot of impasto artwork, which is painting with texture, inspired by my love for Vincent van Gosh. Line drawings are also frequently featured in my work.”

She also has a few awards under her belt, including the prestigious KAAF ART PRIZE 2015 from the Korean Australian Art Foundation. She also won the highly commendable Women’s Art Prize and Exhibition Award in 2015 for the City of Ryde in Sydney.

Lakshmi will be holding a private exhibition, ‘Mimpi Burung’, on September 23, 6pm to 8pm, at her home gallery in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. If you would like to attend, or visit her gallery, kindly e-mail her at [email protected] or WhatsApp a message to her at +61478209037, and you will receive an invitation. You can also visit her website at

Here’s a look at some more of her vibrant paintings:

Lady with Bird in the Hand (2014), Acrylic on Canvas


Cockatoo Lovebirds, Sydney (2014), Acrylic on Canvas

Reclining Lady in Kebaya (2017), Acrylic on Canvas

Birds in Paradise, (2014), Acrylic on Canvas

Lady with Birds, Bali (2014) Acrylic on Canvas

Bird Song 1, (2014), Acrylic on Canvas

Garden Bird & Blue Tiles, Bangsar (2014), Acrylic on Canvas

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