KUCHING-BORN sculptor Anniketyni Madian has found fame internationally. Her sculptures are exhibited in various parts of the world, from the United States to Egypt. She even has a handful of global clients, and is also pursuing a master in fine art.
Recently, she was kind enough to give us a tour of her art studio, where she creates her masterpieces.
Her art studio looks more like a hardware shop, filled to the brim with machinery. It is a very industrial environment, but the pieces she creates are very evocative and poignant. Her art is full of emotion, and never fails to affect the deepest corners of the heart.
In this interview, she spoke about her relationship with her art, and her newborn baby girl.
Who was the first person who influenced you to be a sculptor?
“My dad. He was a contractor. I was surrounded by machinery since I was young. I have seen him using machines to create things.”
Did your dad approve of your ambition to be a sculptor?
“My dad wanted me to take up civil engineering. At that time, I was working as a draughtswoman in an engineering firm. I did not want to waste the four years of my life doing something I was not passionate about.
“There were tense moments between me and my dad. It was like going to war. Now, the situation is totally different. I have proven that I can stand on my own feet, and my dad is proud of my achievement.
“I do not blame my dad. He came from an era where you are made to believe an artist cannot earn a decent living.”
You recently had a baby (Mia, now two months old). Has motherhood changed you?
“Before I became a mother, I was a workaholic. You would see me in my studio for seven days a week, from morning to midnight.
“My husband (a professional photographer) never complained. He is also a workaholic, just like me.
“Now, I am trying very hard to balance my time between my work and my baby girl Mia.
“I can’t bring her to my art studio. It is not a safe place for a child.
“I leave her under the care of my sister-in-law. But whenever I am in the studio, I am constantly thinking about her.”
What are some themes you explore in your sculptures?
“I grew up in Kuching, and have some Iban blood in me. In the Iban culture, we have a traditional weaving method called Pua Kumbu.
“My first experience with Pua Kumbu was when I was eight years old. I learned it from my cousin. I thought it would be interesting to explore this culture of mine within my art work.
“You can find a lot of Pua Kumbu elements in my sculptures. I wanted to bring something personal into my work.”
What is one piece of advice you can give to young artists out there?
“You need to be confident in whatever you are doing. Only when you are confident in whatever you are doing, can you talk to your clients confidently.
“Some artists are shy, quiet and have difficulty communicating with others. Good communication skills are important.”
Your works are made of various materials. What is your favourite material to work with?
“Wood. When I work with wood, I feel calmer and less tense. Wood is connected to nature.”
Why do you think there are more male sculptors compared to female sculptors?
“I think people do not expect nor encourage women to be sculptors. Perhaps this factor is what discourages females from pursuing sculpting.”