Rising above challenges

Izzati Suza went through a dark time in her life, but turned to drawing illustrations to express her feelings

21 Sep 2020 / 10:26 H.

FIVE years ago, tragedy struck Izzati Suza’s family. Her parents met with an accident in 2015, which left her policeman father paralysed. It was a difficult time for the whole family.

Izzati said: “I was in my second year studying Architecture in UiTM Sri Iskandar [at the time] ... My mother had stitches, but my father was bedridden with a severe head injury.

“I decided to take leave from UiTM, but eventually, I quit the course as my father had to be supervised 24/7.”

Izzati and her mother took up the task of caring for her father.

“Our main focus was to get him to talk again because he couldn’t even communicate, eat or walk. At that time, I was writing so much, and I felt like nobody understood how I felt.”

She decided to channel her emotions into drawing comics and doodles, along with meaningful messages.

“I started to draw to express how I felt. I would draw a glass teapot to symbolise that my feelings were fragile. I would draw fresh flowers wilting to symbolise that I was feeling vulnerable. I started to have my own style, incorporate stories and symbols in my doodles and drawings,“ Izzati said.

Sampul Raya by Izzati. – COURTESY OF IZZATI SUZA
Sampul Raya by Izzati. – COURTESY OF IZZATI SUZA

In 2017, she set up an art studio in Melaka, which she called Kedai Suza. The tagline for the studio is ‘Driven by Love’, as she believes that things made with love and good intentions will result in beauty, regardless of how it is done.

“I prefer to be relatable to everyone, no matter what background they are from. I feel like we all want one thing in life – love. As cheesy as it sounds, this is the truth that I believe in and the truth that I seek.”

Izzati wears her heart on her sleeve and translates them into her artworks, which are inspired by the simplest things in everyday life and her surroundings.

“I have an amazing mother, who has a great sense of humour and I owe her my life, literally. She likes to joke and tell funny stories, [which I inherited] from her. My parents inspired me to create funny and humour filled art with messages,” she said.

“Sometimes, I would just do an artwork saying I Miss You, but I would think: ‘Why not give it a funny twist?’ That is how my mind works all the time.

“What I observe is that I am really inspired by how Malaysians connect through our sessions at kopitiams. We all have many fun stories to share.

“What I like about our country and culture is that all of us have a laid-back style. I am really inspired by how ‘santai’ (laid-back or relaxed) our culture is and this inspires me.

Izzati now paints on walls, canvas and apparel, and has transformed from being an ardent fan of comics into a full-time artist.

“I liked comics ever since I was ten years old. I really enjoyed Doraemon, Archie’s Digest, and Gempak Starz and used to copy Powerpuff Girls, Doraemon, Zint’s comic characters from Under18, Lawak Kampus by Keith and Lat’s books like Kampung Boy.

“My current shop in Ayer Keroh is 15 minutes from Bandar Melaka. My future plan is to open Kedai Suza in Jonker Street to reach more tourists. I hope to open one in Kuala Lumpur, someday too.”

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