Updated: Aug 28
Follow our Merdeka series, throughout August and September, we will be highlighting weekly and get up close with a number of Malaysian or Malaysia based artists, who thrive in the industry yet remain underground to the general public. We hope this series will inspire locals and international audience to take notice of our home grown talent.
For a self-taught artist Poojitha Menon, art isn’t merely a chosen path. With an extensive list of portfolios being recognized globally, Poojitha Ravi Menon needs no further introduction. Her style is very much akin to Surrealism. Her artworks are mostly figurative drawing using oil and mixed media. Currently venturing into clay and ceramics, Poojitha expresses her gratitude for being able to do what she likes with very less formal training in the industry. According to her, the art “chooses” her to continue the legacy of what was once merely a family hobby.
Artist : Poojitha Menon
Growing u in an artistic environment, Poojitha learned the intricacy of antiquities through her father who was a collector. She was exposed to that of craftsmanship in the old times during her formative years in Tamilnadu where a good number of them have now been flown back and exhibited at home in Kuala Lumpur.
My Sisters and I (2013) Acrylic & Glass Paints on clear glass
It comes as no surprise to people that the antiquities environment in her surrounding defines a specific call for her taste in art & design. She loves to preserve the Asian heritage and culture. She thinks by doing so, it will make us all becoming more of a self-assured community and less judgmental (towards anything that don’t necessarily belong in the culture).
“I am most comfortable when I am being surrounded by designs of old Asia with a touch of contemporary.”
Poojitha loves the concept of reviving old Asia where she hopes to connect to the roots through the arts. Although it can be a little difficult to set the motion between passion and career, she knows exactly how to find the perfect balance between mum and artist; between artist and her venture interdisciplinary creative studio called The Malaya Collective and between wife and mum.
It seems like a lifetime ago when the #MeToo movement shocked Hollywood in 2017. The next couple of months were consumed by a number of female celebrities coming out with their own horror experiences. Responses were immense with human rights and allies showing equal support asking for immediate action against perpetrators in the industry. Pojitha also created her own interpretation of women objectivity in her 2018 exhibition entitled “BADAN”.
Visually represented in animal and human forms, BADAN is an ongoing collection of semi-realistic figurative works, thematically related to current affairs; be it social, personal or political. The show has been directly implicated in the global reckoning.
“As a female artist and a mother, the freedom (that I get from an empty canvas) enables me to push beyond the emotional setbacks, the society set rules, roles and labels to express women who refuse to tow, rebel and push beyond such claustrophobic boundaries as I try and seek answers to some important questions; Are we, as women in 2020, really free? Who am I? What am I worth? Who decides my freedom?”
Poojitha draws inspiration from the daily happenings around her and pour them into the canvas. The journey has been one of those she will never forget. The work has become a discussion point where viewers get to engage, contemplate, question the artwork and it's subject matter.
Having drawn for almost two decades did not make her struggles as an artist any less significant. Just like any other, being able to take part in exhibitions was very tough, especially when she just started out. According to her, finding a footing just to get her name out there and expose her to opportunities has been a massive struggle over the years. The global recognition has given her the privilege of building her own niche where things are greatly improving now. She has acquired her own set of buyers who know her work and are able to collect directly.
In a heartfelt conversation, Poojitha spoke to us about her biggest support system throughout the journey. She said that her husband, the person who believe in her the most is, ironically, also her biggest critic.
“If there's anybody who truly believes that I am talented and I have the gift, then it’s him. I don't think I would've continued if it wasn’t for his constant nagging and prodding, nudges and shoves.”
She is currently working on a duo show for an exhibition schedule to be around early 2021. More on her work can be found on Instagram (@artbypoojithamenon)