Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit theMalaysian economy hard and many industries, especially the creative arts, are still struggling to survive the worrisome impact. Thankfully, Malaysians are a supportive lot. With initiatives such as the #SapotLokal and #BenderaPutih movement, small businesses and those in need of financial aid managed to stay afloat during tough times.
Earlier last month, you might have stumbled upon this Facebook post from YB Lim Yi Wei on artist Lim Anuar’s plight. Based in Kampung Tunku, the self-taught artist specializes in presenting his finest artworks with a uniquely Malaysian medium- batik. Having to adhere to operating restrictions in line with the government’s National Recovery Plan, Mr Lim Anuar faced financial difficulty as art galleries and classes are not permitted to operate.
Lim Anuar was born deaf, but has never let his disability hinder him from making a name for himself. Hailing from Tanjung Bungah, Penang, he is a self-taught artist with a flair of all things creative.His interest in creative arts piqued when he was in primary school, and he went to become a designer for over 25 years. Lim Anuar’s career defining moment came during 2011 when he clinched gold in the 8th International Abilympics, in Seoul, Korea. From then onwards, the accomplished designer transitioned to become a full-time artist, and enrolled in Universiti Malaya to pursue a Masters of Arts. The Penangite has had his masterpieces exhibited abroad at art shows in Australia, Singapore, and the United States.
When the pandemic struck, Lim Anuar faced difficulties in securing contracts and selling his artworks as galleries and international borders remained closed. Upon hearing about Lim Anuar’s financial struggles, HSBC Malaysia commissioned him to produce several artworks through their We Can Do initiative that helps Malaysians in need. Meanwhile, Pestle & Mortar Clothing collaborated with the artist to digitize his artworks to be released as a Merdeka-themed capsule collection that acts as a fundraiser whereby all sales earnings goes back to the batik artist.
The collection, named ‘Unity’, features wayang kulit-esque characters in bright, bold colours that signify the cultures inMalaysia living in harmoniously. Released alongside Pestle & Mortar’sMalaysia Month Collection, Lim Anuar’s drawings brings a breath of fresh air toMalaysia’s streetwear culture by intertwining traditional batik elements with urbanized fashion. This collection consists of three apparels to choose from, namely a bowling shirt, a t-shirt and a pair of shorts. Sizes are available up to2XL, and are unisex in cutting. In support of Lim Anuar’s art journey, all proceeds from the sale of the Unity collection will be donated to him.