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The artist painting Hari Raya portraits

Amirul Danial says the gratitude he receives from his customers is a gift.

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
2 minute read
Amirul Danial works in his room, turning photographs of families into paintings for Hari Raya. Photo: Instagram
Amirul Danial works in his room, turning photographs of families into paintings for Hari Raya. Photo: Instagram

While many look forward to a break from work during Hari Raya Aidilfitri, work, for Amirul Danial, is precisely what makes his celebration so special. 

Amirul, 28, began drawing in school, half a lifetime ago. Today, he puts his skills to good work, painting family portraits for his customers to enjoy during the festive season. 

Everything he needs is in his room – colour pencils, paper, water colours and miscellaneous tubes of paint. 

Speaking to MalaysiaNow ahead of this year's Aidilfitri celebration, Amirul said portraits, as drawings, are the closest thing to real life. 

To produce one, he must pay attention to every tiny detail. 

Most of his portraits are of families, children and couples. 

How many orders he can take depends on the kind of picture, number of subjects, and time frame given. 

Amirul, from Ipoh, Perak, is the youngest of six children. 

He began drawing while he was still in school, turning out pictures of his friends just for fun. 

Eventually, the fun turned into routine and he found himself drawing more and more. 

"Some of my interest might have come from my parents, especially my mother who joined many portrait-drawing contests when she was young," he said. 

Amirul finds inspiration for his work in portrait artist Heather Rooney, and dreams of owning his own studio one day. 

When asked about his memories and experiences of being the person behind the easel, Amirul said two things mean the most for him in every job. 

The first is the gratitude with which his customers receive the finished product, which he described as a gift. 

"It's hard to express because you might not always get such gratitude from people in life," he said. 

His work also has added meaning when he is told that someone in the portrait he is working on has passed away. 

Amirul himself lost his father at a young age and understands the grief and bitterness that can accompany the death of a loved one. 

"I feel like it's my responsibility to see my customers happy and satisfied, seeing the face of their loved one as if they are there, celebrating the day with them."