Malaysian Artist Nell-Lynn Perera “Art has saved my life, it has given me a means to express myself quietly without the need for words”.
Nell-Lynn Perera, 43, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a self taught artist who started 3 years ago.
I am a highly sensitive person (HSP) and I always go within when I paint. Often times I paint in a trance like state. Hence, the Universe is a theme that I often paint. I am not a student of astronomy so this particular fascination of painting the Universe is really me painting Consciousness, something that I have come to know.
What motivated you to deal with the subject of beauty and stereotypes in your art?
The motivation mostly came from real life experiences.
Tell us why you chose these submissions?
I wanted to reach more people through my painting and writing. I wanted my voice to be heard. I wanted others to know that they are not alone should they feel the same way as I do. I wanted my paintings to speak of words that I am incapable of expressing.
Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?
I mostly paint without knowing what I am about to paint so acrylics work best for me as it’s quick drying and allows me to paint as quickly as there is an energy flowing within me when I paint. There is a calling to paint without knowing what I am painting. I paint from all directions of my canvas/paper until I see something form. Once this is revealed to me, I continue painting in one direction. I take breaks if it is a big piece but not for long as the calling to paint is too great.
What is your process when creating?
I spend a lot of time not painting. Unlike most artists who produce on a daily or weekly basis, I don’t. I rely heavily on how I feel, and this feeling, this urge to paint only arises when I have been still for some time. I don’t paint because I want to. I paint because I need to.
Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?
I am influenced by what lives in me; all that I have lived through. Consciousness, love and following my higher self’s inner guidance is what inspires and beckons me to paint.
What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?
Feminism to me means equality and freedom to express and be without judgement or any preconceived ideas from years of stereotyping women. I don’t consider myself a feminist as I don’t believe in stereotyping myself and try my best at not stereotyping others. I simply am a woman.
What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?
I got involved because I believe in the mission of ART SAVES LIVES. I didn’t paint nor write anything new specifically for this project which reflects that I too share and have been involved in wanting to bring light to ART SAVES LIVES mission.
Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously? Do you have any experiences of this?
Yes, women mostly have to. We mostly have to live up to how we should dress in accordance to the different stereotypes of what is out there. Even our behaviours are judged.
As a model with tattoos who listens to Trance music (even when I paint), I’m aware that people who think they know me, have perceived me wrongly. They join the dots because of years of conditioned stereotyping and they fail miserably at their perception of who I really am.
Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?
No, we are not equals in most societies. The fact that the word feminism is still being used reflects this clearly; we are not equals. We do not have to go far to realise this. Just look at how a couple differentiate their ‘duties’ at home.
When women are assertive, they’re seen as less feminine.
When women show anger, they’re seen as less feminine.
When women don’t wear makeup, they’re seen as less feminine.
I speak from experience about all the above.
What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc…..?
The abolishment of the Death Penalty and all forms of torture, homelessness, the closure of Guantanamo Bay, human rights and prisoners on death row.
What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?
I simply can’t imagine a world without art, music and nature.
People don’t take art or artists seriously as they are millions of us and art is all around their surroundings. But imagine a world where there is no art. The world appears a lot less alive. Architecture though is a form of art, remains cold, concrete and lacking of emotion.
Art has saved my life. It has given me a means to express myself quietly without the need for words. My inner world is reflected in my art. I am able to catapult myself to a better place where stillness is alive rather than chaos. I believe the buyers of my art feel the same way.
How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?
Street art and graffiti for instance have a huge voice because it is out there. Their impact to create change and a different way of looking at things, is massive. For this reason, street artist, Bansky is someone I regard highly. He does not seek fame or riches. His main objective is to wake people up from the daily conditioning that people have been misled into believing is the truth through main stream media.
My art hasn’t reached that volume of audience yet in order for me to achieve change. But yes, there is a message if you look closely.
What are your goals as with your art?
My goals are simple. I would like to be able to live off sales of my paintings in order for me to continue painting. In order for me to be able to achieve this, I need a wider audience who not only appreciate my paintings but who would purchase them.
Fame is not something I seek. The gift of knowing I could paint came late to me. I only want to honour this gift by sharing it with others and to be in a position where I can live a decent confortable life by staying true to this gift.
What is your next project or piece that you are working on?
My second book “The Rugged Sea” which I have completed writing but which I need to source for funding in order to see it published. Trying to secure a second solo show in a reputable gallery which isn’t easy as most reputable galleries here are only interested at featuring work of famous artists.
And is there anything you would like to add to your interview?
Each and everyone of us has the gift of being able to paint.
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