The Malaysian Female Artists You Need To Know: Sharina Shahrin

From sculptors to illustrators and painters to miniature artists, we spoke to eight of Kuala Lumpur’s most interesting female artists about their distinctive art-forms and to unravel their killer art-titude.

Sharina Shahrin’s colourful portfolio spans across multiple mediums. Educationally, she started with a Foundation In Art and Design at the University of the Arts, London which led her to her first degree in Creative Direction for Fashion at the London College of Fashion.

During a gap year back home in Malaysia, she opened up her studio, Everyday Studios, where she practiced art full-time. She also conducted workshops, exhibited her artwork, did commissioned paintings and was involved in creative collaborations with local and international brands. That was also when she made her debut in the fashion scene with  her batik brand, Baju, which aims to explore and promote the traditional Malaysian batik.

After a year of working, she furthered her studies in the Czech Republic doing Fine Arts and Experimental Media. And now that she’s recently graduated and back in Malaysia, we had to have a chat with one of our generation’s must-see artist.

The most treasured lessons from abroad?

I believe the exposure to different artists, art-forms and ultimately, culture in general allowed me to broaden my mindset and understanding of what could be from a young age.

What urged this transition from being an artist to creating a clothing line?

I didn’t start Baju by Sharina to be known as a clothing designer. My intention has always been to simply promote batik- an art-form in its own right. Clothing is a platform of expression and I just felt that there was something missing, culturally, in the way my generation dressed.

What’s the biggest challenge in approaching these two very different art form?

I believe I navigate through both artforms with ease as I’ve done it most of my life. Creating art and expressing myself through clothing has always been second nature to me.

Aside from painting and designing your own line, what other forms of art do you do?

Digital art, photography and music.

If you could choose one person to be your mentor, who would it be? Why?

I can’t possibly pick one! I would love to learn from Ai Wei Wei, Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dali, the list is endless!

How do you wish your art could impact people?

I would love nothing more than for people to understand the importance of art, not only on a personal level but for community, at large. I’d like people to reflect on how they’re contributing back to society through their skills or talents.

“Art is important because…”

It’s a reflection of our culture, a means of communication, a basis of intellectual discourse and a vehicle for change.