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Painting brings new meaning for mother in post-pandemic disorder

Nurul Hayati Ahmad never realised her talent in art but has now embarked with her daughter on a new vocation.

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
2 minute read
Nurul Hayati Ahmad finds comfort and meaning in the hours she spends creating beautiful paintings.
Nurul Hayati Ahmad finds comfort and meaning in the hours she spends creating beautiful paintings.

For the first 50-odd years of her life, Nurul Hayati Ahmad never so much as touched a paintbrush or tried her hand at drawing. 

It was not until the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, when she found herself with more time than she could fill, that she began watching art tutorials. 

Impressed by the beautiful works of art produced by even amateur artists, she decided to take up painting as well. 

She and her daughter began small, with easy paintings that did not present too much of a challenge. 

In less than a year, Hayati was selling her artwork, some for as much as five digits. 

Other pieces are donated to associations and foundations that do charitable works. 

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, Hayati said she finds solace in her art from the chaos associated with the pandemic. 

"Drawing might be a natural talent," she added. "I'm not sure. It came spontaneously – I didn't realise I was so interested in painting."

It takes Hayati two to three hours to complete a small or medium-sized painting. Bigger pieces can take more than a week, depending on the technique needed. 

"Some pieces are easier than others," she said. 

"Some are very complex because of the combination of colours which needs a long time to get right. 

"If the piece is more difficult, I sell it for a higher price." 

Hayati works with organisations and welfare bodies throughout the Klang Valley to collect funds for charity by selling her paintings. 

It is a new and meaningful experience for her, and she is moved every time that she sells another piece of art. 

"When I complete a painting, I feel a connection with it," she said. 

"It's hard for me to let any of them go. I feel very close with the paintings that I create." 

Hayati's paintings go for anywhere between RM250 and RM24,000, although her most expensive works have yet to find a buyer. 

Although she has only been painting for a short period of time, she cannot imagine doing anything else with her life. 

For her, the most important lesson has been in having the confidence to take the first step. 

"It's all right to make mistakes, because that's where you gain experience," she said. 

"Sooner or later, your efforts and mistakes will pay off. My daughter and I also made many mistakes when we began, and many of our techniques were not right. 

"We have to learn slowly, and at our own pace."