The Malaysian Female Artists You Need To Know: Sophia Kamal

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.

Sophia Kamal is not new to the Malaysian art scene and if her latest show in Minut Init has proven anything, it’s that she has no plans of shying away from the spotlight. The young visionary with a BA in Fine Arts from the University of East London and whose work has been exhibited around Asia and Europe, continues to deepen her exploration with identity, exploitation, religion, feminism and beauty through her sensual portraits.

Who do you paint for?

I paint for myself. Ever since I was five, I’ve always enjoyed the comfort of being able to paint and it’s something I’ve been doing ever since. It’s something as normal as breathing or eating for me.

What moves you most in life?

I’m moved by a lot of things but I feel mostly moved by nature. The greens inspire me to be a softer version of myself and I’m the most relaxed when all my five senses are in contact with the earth’s natural state.

How would you describe your artistic philosophy?

It’s simple: I enjoy creating because it makes me feel safe and happy. I don’t demand to be rewarded for it because I don’t ever want to feel pressured or intimidated by my creativity.

What goes into creating an artwork?

It starts with finding a good subject matter, typically a female figure. Then I’ll begin photographing the set-up, experimenting with various lighting, compositions and props such as flowers, glitters or patterns. Once I’m satisfied with my photographs, I transfer them onto canvas or plywood to begin experimentation with different paints and colours.

Who WOULD be on the playlist while you paint?

The music I listen to depends on my mood but indie music is still my go-to. I’d either go to SoundCloud to find something that resonates my mood or listen to home-grown, local artists, who are some of my favourites too.