DOUBLE TAKE They say, children are the mirror image of their parents. Two artistic Malaysians investigate the extent to which their imaginative progenies will continue to shoot for the moon. By Naressa Khan.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the case of Zaireen and Malena. With her big curls and equally big smile, 12-year-old Malena looks to be the splitting image of her 35-year-old dancer, artist, and photographer mother (known best as the brain and heart behind J. Redza Art, Dance & Creativity, an art hub). Their similar features aren’t the only factor binding them together. The mother-daughter duo also happens to share a real passion for the arts. While Malena did not inherit Zaireen’s passion for dancing, she was bestowed with her 35-year-old mother’s talent for painting, and has been developing her own colourful strokes from the impressively early age of 10 months. Now a homeschooled girl at the start of her adolescence, Malena continues to practise what she’s learned best: to always paint your feelings.
Malena’s emotions, poetically captured in her abstract paintings ZAIREEN J. REDZA: Why do you love painting? MALENA SOFIA MAY: It makes me learn my feelings, and whenever I learn them, I become calm. ZJR: Do you remember the first time you picked up the paint brush? MSM: It was when I was about 10 months old. You told me that. You’d let me play with your brushes and paints. ZJR: Do you remember your very first artwork? MSM: It was an abstract painting with many colours. ZJR: What inspires you? MSM: I just explore freely, depending on my emotions. ZJR: Which of my paintings do you love the most? MSM: The ones you painted of me. ZJR: Who are your role models? MSM: My art teacher. And you, because you are beautiful and whenever you paint, you let out your feelings and it makes me happy. ZJR: If you could create a painting with me, what would it look like? MSM: I would paint the tree of life. No, our entire family tree! It would look like a big tree with flowers, with all of our family members’ names on it. Yours and mine would be next to each other. ZJR: Which famous person would you like to paint? MSM: Taylor Swift, my favourite singer. ZJR: What are some of your favourite songs to paint along to? MSM: “Count On Me” by Bruno Mars, “Superheroes” by The Script, “Moves like Jagger” by Maroon 5, and “Right Round” by Flo Rida. ZJR: What would you want to be when you grow up? MSM: I want to be singer, an artist, a designer, and also a vet. I also want to be the person who takes care of nature so the animals would not fall sick.
On Malena: Sweater,
Karen Millen. Skirt, Kate Spade New York. On Zaireen: Top; and earrings, BCBG Max Azria. Skirt, Kate Spade New York.