Mr D.I.Y Art Competition 2024 rewards RM100,000 to young Malaysian artists

A creatively embroidered “Malaysian flag” and a 3D painting about yearning to study art emerged as the grand prize winners of the Mr D.I.Y. Art Competition 2024, which awarded cash prizes of more than RM100,000 to 22 young Malaysian artists.

Now in its third year, the annual competition is organised by Malaysia’s largest home improvement retailer Mr D.I.Y Group (M) Bhd. This year, there were a total of 1,000 entries, including an encouraging 322 entries from primary and secondary schools nationwide.

“This art competition aims to recognise and reward the same spirit of creativity and dedication that drives our success. This year’s theme ‘Reality of Abstraction’ invites artists to explore and depict the relationship between the abstract and the real – creating a sense of the abstract while maintaining a connection to the real world. This theme aims to challenge perceptions, encourage people to see beyond the surface and to consider deeper, more complex interpretations,” said Mr D.I.Y. group CEO Adrian Ong at a prize-giving ceremony at the Mr D.I.Y PLUS superstore at IPC Shopping Centre last Friday.

He added that some of the winning pieces beautifully integrated Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban and Kadazan cultural elements, demonstrating that within the artistic and creative world, cultural differences transcend boundaries.

“It is through efforts like this that we can inspire Malaysians to look beyond the obvious and appreciate the deeper nuances in our relationship with society and each other,” he added.

For the first time, the competition featured two separate categories – public and educational institutions to encourage the participation of more Malaysians to showcase their unique talent and abilities.

Mohd Farizal Puadi, 43, a lecturer at the Department of Creative Multimedia, Faculty of Arts, Sustainability & Creative Industries, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, from Sungkai, Perak, and Iklil Ali Ahmad Shukri, 19, a student from Universiti Teknologi Mara were awarded the grand prize in the public and education institution categories respectively for their winning entries. Farizal took home RM15,000 while Iklil was awarded RM4,000.

Farizal’s piece, titled “Malaysia Madani”, was inspired by the aftermath of Malaysia’s 15th General Election, and captured a pivotal moment in the nation’s history. He describes it as reflecting Malaysia’s diverse and unique character through the symbolic use of the national flag. He employed a stitching technique reminiscent of upholstered furniture to serve as a metaphor for the comfort derived from Malaysia’s societal diversity, saying the intricate approach signifies how different threads of culture and heritage are woven together to create a unified and harmonious nation.

Iklil’s piece “Surat untuk Dunia: Bertemu Cinta di Garis Horizontal” demonstrated his journey to becoming an artist. As a student and influenced by his artistic parents, he aspired to study the Fine Arts. His artwork depicts the lessons he learned from his parents, teachers, friends, and life. It conveys that the purity of love can combat hate and transform the world into a place of harmony and peace.

Referencing the body of work showcased this year, Ong said: “Creativity is a cornerstone of progress and by fostering artistic expression, we can contribute to a more vibrant and dynamic society. This competition is just one of the many ways we hope to encourage and empower artists to share their vision and voices with the world.”

Mr D.I.Y is inviting the public to view the prize-winning art pieces at Mr D.I.Y. PLUS IPC Shopping Centre until June 30, 2024 and Segaris Art Centre, Publika from July 1–7, 2024.

Launched in 2022, the Mr D.I.Y Art Competition aims to cultivate an appreciation for Malaysian art among the wider audience and promote a rich and diverse creative ecosystem in the country. It provides a sustainable platform for art talents nationwide to be nurtured and grown, as one of the many ways it seeks to add value to Malaysia and the lives of Malaysians.