As a child, Amy Hashim lived near the sea in Kelantan. Just a stone’s throw away from her house was Pantai Cahaya Bulan in Kota Baru. Every morning, she would make a trip to the beach with her siblings. She liked how the waves played with her little feet, and how the sea stretched beyond her sight, nearly merging with the sky.
Nothing can get more magical than these childhood memories.
“I am very much inspired by water. And as I paint, I noticed that I love to apply thick layers (of paint). I just connected with such a style on canvas,” shares Amy, during an interview at AHA Gallery in Subang Jaya.
“I apply and shape the composition of the painting with lots of layers and that satisfies me. It’s not something I did consciously or intentionally. It’s more of an instinct,” she adds.
It is no wonder, then, that the 47-year-old artist chose water as the theme for her third solo exhibition called It’s The Soul at AHA Gallery, which is part of her home.
It’s The Soul, featuring 30 oil paintings that come in various sizes, is a vibrant-looking show. It is divided between seascapes and dreamy lakes.
There are relatively small cute works and the standard attention-grabbers, while you can’t miss a whopping 2.7m painting in the gallery. She truly knows how to light up a gallery. Art is not something new to Amy, who is a mother of three.
Her late father was an art teacher. She recalls the times when, as a young girl, she would admire the artworks by her father’s students. In these formative years, Amy’s interest in art grew immensely, starting out with watercolours.
But, for Amy, her career (in education and technology) and family meant that she had to be patient about taking on an art career.
It was when Amy had her third child five years ago that she decided to be a stay-at-home mum. It was also an opportunity for her to return to painting full-time. Eventually, Amy founded AHA Gallery, which sits on the second floor of her house. It was completed late last year.
Amy’s previous exhibitions include the solo Evolusi Sejadi (2016) at APS Gallery in KL, and a list of group shows like a portrait exhibit at National Visual Arts Gallery last year and the recent Imago Mundi 3 Nations exhibition at KL’s The Hulo Hotel + Gallery.
For her current exhibition, Amy’s artworks are eye-catching. Hers is an impressionistic style, the masterful use of colours and her innate ability to produce just the right amount of layer and texture to transport the viewer to an otherworldly place.
One of the most stunning paintings in the collection is Bait With A Heart, which explodes with bright colours. In this artwork, a butterfly koi emerges out of the water. The majestic yellowish-red fish is seen approaching an unassuming butterfly, resting on a lotus leaf.
“Nowadays, people like to fight and label other people and sow hatred via social media. This inspired me to come up with this painting. What I want to show is that although we are different, we can all still be friends and care for each other. That is why I called it Bait With A Heart. If you want something, bait with the heart and not with force,” explains Amy.
Amy’s artistic journey may have started late but she is about to make inroads abroad. Her oil paintings have caught the attention of an established gallery in New York, and she reveals that it has agreed to represent her for a whole year.
“They sent me an official offer that they want to represent me for one year,” concludes Amy, who will reveal more in the coming months.