By Zareef Muzammil
SHAH ALAM, July 26 — Wan Jamila Wan Shaiful Bahri’s creativity in producing award-winning paintings on the local and international levels has made the autistic youth an ideal icon for Anak Istimewa Selangor (AnIS).
Despite lacking formal training or education in the arts, she has produced hundreds of paintings covering abstract, realistic and impressionist concepts since 2017.
Wan Jamila’s mother Noorhashimah Mohamed Noordin, 61, said she is happy her daughter, also known as ArtJamila, was chosen as an icon as it proves the 20-year-old’s talent is appreciated by many.
“I am grateful to the state government for choosing my daughter as an icon for AnIS. This award will definitely motivate her spirit,” she said.
Noorhashimah represented her daughter to receive the award during the Jelajah Selangor Penyayang (JSP) roadshow at Laman MBPJ on July 24.
ArtJamila’s achievements include being listed in the Britishpedia encyclopedia (2020), as a participant in the United States’ World Peace project (2020) and winner of the Asian frontliners-themed contest (2020).
She also won second place in the ‘Beautiful Malaysia’ competition and champion of the 64th Malaysia’s Independence Day visual arts competition (2021) as well as winning the ‘This is Pahang’ painting competition (2021).
Noorhashimah explained her daughter, who is the fourth child of five siblings, won many awards for producing works that are considered unique and of their own style.
“She also paints historical moments related to current issues, for example, climate change, Covid-19, sea pollution and world peace,” she said.
Noorhashimah added that ArtJamila’s talent was apparent as early as four years old when she started painting based on her emotions and experiences.
“From a young age, she liked to transform her emotions, whether sad or happy into paintings, drawing on her experiences at home and school. She even draws the teachers when they are teaching.
“So if I wanted to know what is going on at school, I just have to look at her drawings. My daughter tells stories through her drawings because she is more comfortable drawing than talking.
“She likes to draw while singing and does not like to be disturbed. If I went into her room while she was painting, I would be asked to leave,” said Noorhashimah, who dreams of opening a special gallery to house all of her daughter’s artwork.