Artist without legs soars

KUALA LUMPUR: If you're looking for a "special" artist to draw your portraits, Dasuki Johari is the man.

Born without legs, Dasuki, 49, started drawing portraits for a living in Johor and later moved to Kuala Lumpur, where he is now operating at the Bandaraya LRT station.

"I work from 11am to 5pm every day," he said when met recently near the station, where he was working on a landscape drawing using charcoal.

"In my 20s, I used to work as a data entry clerk in Singapore, but decided that I wanted to do more with my life.

"I have been to different states, sometimes sleeping at bus stations. I know what it is like being homeless and I am determined to forge forward with my skill."

His love for art began when he was working in Langkawi and a friend introduced him to an artist who taught him the basics.

"I started painting in my late 30s after watching other artists for six months. It was tough at first, but I'm glad to get enough income to support my family," he said while doing a portrait of a couple who had sent him their picture via WhatsApp.

"I want to be independent and show others that people like me can earn a living, too," he said, adding that he was grateful to City Hall for giving him a permit and busker's tag that allows him to work anywhere.

He shook his head when asked if he received welfare aid.

Dasuki charges RM100 for a black-and-white portrait and RM200 for one in colour, and said he was once commissioned to do a large sketch for RM3,500.

His wife, Sumaiyah Ghazali, accompanies him despite being wheelchair-bound and helps him upload his work on his Facebook page "Dasuki Skate".