THE YEARS 1989-91 were another watershed period for my art endeavours. Work at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia had picked up a bit and I had been thinking about leaving for some time now. Longer hours in the office and uncertainty about my own future took away any focus I needed for painting.
I did a few sketches in my notebook in 1989 — I called them “schticks” because there is some gimmickry about them — but there was no time or inclination to execute them in full.
In 2020, early into the pandemic, I decided to revisit them to give the project some sort of closure. I started with a few small drawings and then ended up with seven bigger pieces 14in wide and 20in tall.
In 1989, I was anxious too about where I could head in terms of my paintings and verses. A few knowledgeable people, “experts”, were non-committal, refusing to give an opinion. I found better advice from people who did not have any professional stake in the fields of art and poetry. I was told by a friend rather perceptively that my verses were a way of keeping my written expressions in crisp form, reflecting a part of my nature as an introvert.