An undeniably talented artist, Lim Anuar is a man with incredible strength of character. He has overcome much in his life; the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ have been levelled at him many a time and yet he has not tired of living.
At first approach, his composed and serene bearing can mislead one to assume that he is an unassuming, ordinary man; but, once introduced, his wittiness and droll humour will have one in stitches within minutes. This is all the more impressive when you consider that Lim Anuar was born deaf and has never heard nor spoken a word in his life.
Lim Anuar is one of those people who do not let anything stop him, he has had every opportunity to rest on his laurels and live a simple, comfortable life; but, his path is not that of those who will pass into obscurity. Lim Anuar is a man for the ages, his art, his passion for life and the memory of his kind, friendly nature will be remembered for a long time to come.
The Day We Met
With the help of a translator, Lim Anuar asked how Art Misfits came to hear about him.
We answered that one of our regular Google searches for inspiring, interesting and local artists had returned a link to the News Strait Times article about his first solo exhibition at the News Strait Times, Balai Berita.
It is not a usual occurrence that an artist who has freshly arrived on the exhibition circuit gets to have a solo exhibition; and while Lim Anuar has worked in the arts and graphic design field for a number of years, this is the first time he has devoted himself entirely to his own art work.
And what a way to make an entrance! There are so few artists who can work with the batik style of painting that you could count them on your fingers. Also, Lim Anuars scrapbooks show that he is skilled at painting with a number of mediums, so naturally we asked:
What made you choose the batik style?
What do you think of today’s trends in art? (Modern art, art installations)
In your opinion, what is the most difficult part of the creating process?
Can you tell us about that one defining moment when you knew you wanted to be an artist?
What do find most enjoyable about being an artist/the creative process?
Has your work required any lifestyle changes?
Has the reality of being an artist been the same as you expected? How is it the same? How is it different?
What is the biggest hurdle you have had to overcome?
These are the challenges Deaf people encounter. Another hurdle I have is handling the art business on my own. I learn hands on and from mistakes made. I need to juggle the business side of it and producing artwork at the same time.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
How has your life been different than what you’d imagined?
It seems that your childhood in Penang really stayed with you, could you share an anecdote or memory of that time?
Despite all the shortcomings and challenges, I treasure those experiences that helped me to appreciate life and motivated me to work harder. Of course there are some pleasant memories during my younger days.
I remembered the time I played with other kids in the fishing village. I used to explore the villages that I walked pass every day. I observed their daily life and learn(ed) their cultures.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you?
What do you do when you are not painting?
[/col][col size=”1/2″ ]You have recently undertaken your masters studies, has formal education always been very important to you? Why do you want to be a lecturer in addition to being an artist?
There was constantly a thirst for knowledge and information. I earned my degree while I was working in Limkokwing University. Without a sign interpreter, I had to struggle and put in double effort to understand the lectures besides coping with my day job. I had to admit that many times at great difficulties, I thought of giving up.
I’m very grateful that UM (University Malaya) accepted me to pursue my Masters’ degree in Visual Art under the Cultural Center. The lecturers are very open and willing to accept me as the first Deaf student in the center. There are many successful Deaf people in many parts of the world. There are Deaf people who were elected as member of the parliament, a Deaf representative in the White House, successful Deaf actors, entrepreneurs, lawyers and many more.
As I grew older and were exposed to the world though participation in seminars, workshops and competitions internationally, I came to realise that Deaf people are capable and can contribute to society. With that awareness and bout of spirit, I am determined to make (the) best use of my skills and talent to make changes to the world. Thus I decided to pursue my master degree to improve myself.
With the knowledge gathered and vast experiences in life, I want to contribute not only to the Deaf community but for the society at large. I hope that my achievements will be a source of hope and motivation for other Deaf to pursue their dreams and achieve success in their lives.
What do you think of the opportunities available for Malaysian artists in Malaysia/the world?
What words of wisdom would you want to pass on to aspiring artists?
Creativity alone without a solid foundation of skills and knowledge in art will not make a person a great artist. For those who are serious in pursuing a career as a fine art artist, s/he is advised to acquire a proper training in art, whether though a formal training in art school or training under an art master.
What legacy do you want to leave for future generations?
What are you proudest of in your life?
This shows that being Deaf does not make me any lesser than normal people.
Would you say you have achieved all you personal ambitions? Please enumerate.
I’ve just started my career as a full time artist. There are so many things I have yet to achieve as an artist. The journey ahead will be a long winding one.
Lim Anuar: Visionary
It is hard not to fall under the spell of Lim Anuars charm. He is a man who has suffered, not just for his art but to gain a respectable foothold for himself in society.
Where others would have given up, he persevered: when many would have rested, he pushed for more: when he realised that the world is tilted against him because of his disability, he chose to pay no heed and continue on the path he has chosen for himself.
Despite the many hardships he has encountered and the difficulties he now faces since he became a full time artist while pursuing his Masters’ degree, he always has a smile ready on his face. Lim Anuar is an amiable, good-natured man and one of the finest artists to come out of Asia.
Yet, he is not done. He has many more projects on his horizon. One of these is a center he hopes to open for the Deaf and Hearing alike. Lim Anuar intends for the center to be a place where he can bring together both Deaf and Hearing peoples so they can interact and learn from and about each other, with the intention of breaking down the barriers that keep the two apart.
Lim Anuar feels that once he creates a bridge where the two can meet, then all distinctions will fall away; ‘Art does not distinguish between Deaf and Hearing, and neither will this centre’.
Lim Anaur worked closely with Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr Lim Kok Wing for many years, reporting directly to him. Thus, he was inspired to form his center in a similar manner to how Limkokwing institute began.
The number of Deaf children and parents with Deaf children who approach him is what convinced him to go ahead with the idea for opening the center.
After The Interview
We knew very soon after we met Lim Anuar that we were not in the presence of an ordinary man.
Lim Anuar made us laugh, strengthened our resolve to strive harder for our dreams and made us want more out of our lives.
Even if he was not a gifted artist, Lim Anuar would have left his mark on this world, someone as hard-working, as diligent and with the sheer amount of talent he possesses could never remain unknown.
LOOK OUT FOR LIM ANUAR’S SECOND SOLO EXHIBITION!
Island Gallery, No. 6, Phuah Hin Leong Road, 10050 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.
For more information, please contact at +6016-437 6687