Retired film production house co-owner Audrey Lim Yoke-lin, 54, had a hard life in her younger days.
When she was 17, her mother became an invalid and, two years later, her father passed away.
She is the youngest in her family, and has an elder sister and brother. But her athletic skills stood her in good stead. At 19, Lim, then a student of Bukit Bintang Girls’ School (BBGS), represented Malaysia in the SEA Games for the first time in 1983, and again in 1985. Her coaches were the late Ahmed Ishtiaq Mubarak, a Malaysian hurdler and a former Olympic semi-finalist, and (Datuk) Marina Chin, track queen of the 1970s.
In 1987, Lim was awarded a scholarship by the Youth And Sports Ministry to major in Physical Education (Allied Health) in the United States.
She said: “I was blessed to be awarded a federal scholarship to further my studies.”
After completing her studies, she returned to Malaysia and worked in a public-listed conglomerate as a public relations executive.
She also pursued an LCCI Higher Diploma in Advertising, Marketing and PR as well as acquired an MBA from Oklahoma University in the United States. She did both courses part-time in Malaysia.
Armed with these qualifications, she was well equipped to take on the world. Over the next 25 years, she had careers in finance and investment, hospitality, advertising and film production before she took a break from the rat race.
“I was mainly in communications and could glide into many fields,” Lim reflected, rather pleased about her past success.
“The film production business, however, was very draining to my body and soul,” she said.
Lim said it was “a change in family life” that prompted her to take up art. She believes that divine intervention, too, had led to her discovery of her gift of painting, a new hobby that proved to be therapeutic.
In May last year, she starting taking art lessons from Phillip Wong, an accomplished artist and art mentor.
Her medium is acrylic on canvas. Rather than paint with brushes, most of the time she uses palette knives because she feels that she can express herself with the same energy of an athlete.
In March this year, she participated in the 46th Asia Invitation Art Exhibition in Seoul, South Korea, with her artwork, Angelic Love. In April, she participated in the Love & Care charity art exhibition in support of Hospis Malaysia’s Palliative Care Awareness month, with two pieces of art, I Remember You and Lost In The Moment. (The latter piece was sold.)
Just last month, she was one of the featured artists in I Can Care Celcom cat painting exhibition in aid of University Malaya Care. This year, when the BBGS alumni decided on a fund-raising gala dinner on Oct 6, Lim was more than delighted to pitch in and help. It was her chance to give back to her alma mater.
She has chosen to do it via A Journey Of Art-spiration: Faces (audreyartspiration.com/artwork), her online art showcase and “silent auction” of 32 abstract artworks, from now until Oct 8. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to BBGS’ Elena Cooke Education Fund (ECEF).
At the time of writing, there were nine bids and one outright buy, she said.
Set up by BBGS Alumni Berhad (BAB), the education fund aims to give scholarships to needy and deserving Malaysian students for tertiary education in Malaysia.
“To mark 125 years of excellence of BBGS, BAB aims to raise RM1.25 million for the ECEF,” said Lim, who is in the BBGS125 organising committee. She added that it would be good if she could sell all her paintings for a good cause.
Love for the arts
Lim admits that she has always been a health freak who tries to eat wholesome foods.
She said: “I love to cook from scratch and decorate my food like in a fine-dining restaurant, even when eating at home. I still do gym workouts or high-intensity interval training.”
But she regards taking up painting as the best part of retirement.
“I have found a new love, I guess. I like and appreciate the arts. I used to go for theatre acts, musicals and orchestra performances, and now visit art exhibitions to get inspired,” she added.
Recently, she submitted an artwork for a South-East Asian competition, UOB Painting of the Year. She hopes to submit another artwork for a competition in Venice next month.
She said: “I’m trying to see where I stand in the world platform where fine art is concerned.”
While life has been good overall, Lim thinks she is a dreamer.
She mused: “Sometimes, I feel I’ve been born in the wrong continent. I always felt I should be living in a city like Paris, Barcelona or London, where it’s oozing with the richness of the arts.”