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Precious memories

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THERE is a saying that “a moment lasts all of a second but the memory lives on forever.”

These words are true for Munira Hamdan, who believes that little moments make a big difference in life. She treasures important and imperfect times, but those meaningful moments do not last forever.

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To keep the memory alive, the 34-year-old self-taught doodle artist and illustrator captures precious moments through her creative and unique art.

She does this by drawing doodles or illustrations, which are then printed on custom-made gifts such as jigsaw puzzles, perfect for any celebration.

“It’s more than just a display piece. It is a symbolism of our life, which is made up of our family and friends, and they are each represented by the puzzle pieces and, when put together, complete a big picture. This idea works well as a gift,” said Munira.

The artistic Sarawakian also creates custom-made greeting cards, pouches, pillowcases and clothes, and has even come up with her own cartoon characters.

“I do have some wacky, quirky characters like my Ninja Rabbit and Ketupat Panda. They are meant to be silly and cute, something for people to laugh at and love,” said the former graduate from the University of Reading, United Kingdom.

The owner of an online business (www.ayaminlove.com), Munira loved to doodle – even when she was not supposed to. She sneakily drew during lectures or while taking notes during meetings.

“I always doodled, everywhere and all the time.”

How would you describe your art?

“Meaningful, whimsical and adorable. It highlights little things that remind us of the moments in between; tiny victories and good times; whether having our favourite food, meeting up with friends, or sharing silly inside jokes.

“I hope it brings joy, peace and strength. It is a reminder that they are loved and remembered, whether it is used for celebrations or even farewells.”

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What inspired you to draw art or illustrations?

“I started selling greeting cards, which were unusual in the market. The cards were similar to ones I had given to my family and friends, and surprisingly, they were well-received.

“People requested for custom cards, and this started a new chapter for me and my sister, who also has a passion for art. Our work was used for promotional products, logos, business cards and even food menus.”

What do you want to convey through your artwork?

“Snapshot moments that I illustrate capture so many memories, unique to each and every person. Take a photo, even if you feel ugly, because years later your loved ones (and even you) will appreciate having that little memory to hold on to.

“Remember the little things in life, and realise how simple day-to-day things or mementos make a difference. My parents were lamenting about not having a picture with my brother when he was a baby. I drew an illustration of them together.

“Little things like that mean nothing at that moment but can become something you regret not having, later.”

What is the meaning behind “ayaminlove”?

“Actually, I started my business by selling imported handmade cards under the name Two Hens ( a play of the phrase two hands or give sincerely). When I decided to branch out to sell my own handmade cards, I took the word ‘Ayam’, which is the Malay translation for hen as it sounds like “I am”.

“This led me to ask myself: ‘I am … what?’. Ultimately, I settled on the word “in love” because I am all about love – wanting to share love, and making another feel loved. Love is the reason behind anyone getting gifts and cards from others.”

What is the main subject of your art?

“Life. The little things about life. Holding hands with my dad in the car or mum rubbing Vicks on my chest when I had asthma. All those little snippets that make up your life, which sets you apart from others.

“I want my art to mean something. I want the person, who is giving and receiving my cards to laugh and cry, at the same time as it is a memory, shared by both, together.”

How has Sarawak’s culture influenced or inspired your work?

“Being a born and bred Sarawakian, I have a unique perspective about Malaysia, and awareness of inclusion of all people, and I tend to be more mindful that everyone has their own story and background that shaped them into becoming who they are today.

“I have made calendars and cards with laksa Sarawak and mee kolok, Gawai cards, and Hari Raya cards with kek lapis, a layered cake made specially in Sarawak.”

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