Official Website @

Official Website @
Official Website @

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Layla Ebrahim

The Sullen Earth

 A light in the darkness, a flame burning the candle to its core existence of hot wax, many would see the waste of the candles as a reminiscence of its past state but out of destruction there is beauty. Out of chaos there is art and Layla Ebrahim knew exactly that. Born in 1969, this young South African girl was exposed to the bias system of the apartheid and demoralizing racism that had impacted her life and point of view of the world. In these early years of troubled times is where she was first introduced to a unique art form known as Wax painting by her mother and like most beginners she wasn’t very good at it but unlike most children of her age who would normally moved on to the television, she somehow had an attraction towards hot melting wax and the passion to mould them into a perspective imagery.  This hobby of hers grew gradually as she spends her years travelling around the globe, and with new experiences of socializations of variety of cultures and traditions helps to carve her approach towards life in general along with adding flavour of experimentation of colours, techniques and mixing Medias which sequentially improved her skills with amazing quality.

The Beckoning Peaks

After receiving her BA degree with Psychology and English as majors (Post graduate degree in English literature, Post graduate: Honours in English Linguistics), she married and settled in Cape Town, South Africa and had two children.  During this time the tension of the civil and political unrest of the country due to the years of Dutch and British Colonials is at its greatest climax as the words of the jailed Nelson Mandela echoed through the cries of the locals fighting for freedom and justice. Her hobby was then transformed to a platform of expression of words which are censored and unspoken. Out of the chaos of the streets she found an outlet of grounding force of beauty to speak of truth in the form of wax and oils. It became her therapeutic and liberating escape and allows herself to invent, explore and scream out loud from the oppression of the governments.


She then relocated to Saudi Arabia with family and lived there for 10 years, while there she manages to participate in 3 exhibitions allowing her art work to be heard, seen and understood the tragic but yet beautiful story she wishes to display in them. After a sad end to her marriage, she was forced to moved to Bahrain before finally made home in Malaysia with her kids. With all the troubles of life she faces through she still somehow manages to find beauty in all of these in the form of her arts.  We at Minut Init are proud to be the home of the artworks of Layla Ebrahim’s chaotic beauty. We are proud to shed light to the candles of her arts.

Coral in Antartica
1) What makes Wax painting different and unique compare to other paintings and Why should people concern about it?

Wax is simply a pleasure to work with. It's versatile, there's no need to wait for it to dry, it can be etched, scraped, sculptured and molded. It doesn't attract
fungus or mildew, colours don't fade and it can be buffed for a lustrous, high-gloss effect without varnish or sealant. It's also compatible with most mediums, except for acrylics, which tends to peel off at some point in time. The beauty of using wax is that each glide
of a hot tool is unpredictable. It's almost as though the wax has a mind of its own. The final effect looks almost as though the light is stealing its way through the painting
from beneath the surface of the wax, giving it a luminous and dreamy quality. Every time I look at a wax painting, mine or not, I see something new and wonderful.
Wax painting is one of the oldest forms of painting in the world, dating back to ancient Greece and Egypt, mostly used to decorate the walls of tombs. Still, it's
art, and subject to the eternal critic inside all of us. I have seen amazing wax paintings in Malaysia, in the form of Batik. The difference is that Batik uses the wax
for shape and form and then discards it. The wax can then be melted and reused, or you can do what I do - use it as paint.

2) What message are you trying to convey with your paintings?

 I like sharing my love of nature and my tendency towards fantasy and fiction through my paintings. How remarkable would it be if someone finds some kind of pleasure
in that? Perhaps it may inspire in some tiny way. Maybe someone somewhere would sit up and think about something mundane or profound, or perhaps just find some kind of solace or refuge in one of my paintings. Then, I would consider myself an accomplished artist, even if nobody had ever heard of me!

3) Why did you decide to come to Malaysia?
 I moved to Malaysia for a few reasons. I fell in love with it on a previous visit, and on further investigation, I discovered that it has excellent education and less crime
than my own country. Of course, moving to a new country with children is challenging, but we settled in quickly and found a comfort zone and nesting place in Kajang. As the future
is uncertain, this is home, for now, and will be, hopefully for a long time.
4) How would you describe your style?

When it comes to wax painting, I am rather absent-minded. I tend to let the wax do its thing and perform it's magic. I rarely focus too hard on what I'm doing. Wax is that way - the outcome
is unpredictable, and you have to go with the whole melted flow. Oil painting is another story. I tend to be less lackadaisical... less callous and brazen. I think about it, plot, plan, sketch, paint, and then think about it some more. I like doing this, mind you. My moods are thus catered for.

5) What do you expect from the Malaysian Audience and compare to the other countries you had been to?

 I find the Malaysian people to be very crafty. ('Crafty' as in arts and crafts). They're creative, and remind me of my own country. In South Africa, people recycle everything. They could probably find a use for every possible thing new, used or discarded. I find the locals here to be just as innovative and talented, and open to new things. The locals of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia took kindly to my art, generally, and appreciate having had the opportunity to showcase my work there. I also had the opportunity to meet many amazing artists and learned a lot from them. As for the Malaysian audience, I am sure they're open to new things. I did initially find that exposing myself as an artist was an uphill battle, as a foreigner, but it didn't last long. The locals seem to be bursting with colour and vibrance and it explodes through their art.  I wonder how they would take to my wax paintings. I know one thing for sure, though: even if they didn't like it, they would be too polite and and nice to tell me so. This is another reason I am here-the people are generally nice. However, People of Malaysia, I hope that you would give me the honour of having a small niche in your thriving, thrashing art scene. I think they will.

Cave in the Wind

I fancy it will Rain

As it is for most artists, I am inspired by my experiences and socialization. Growing up in South Africa during Apartheid and racism, being a mother and having had the good fortune of travelling to 37 countries have helped shape my perspective and attitudes towards others, and life in general.
I have always been fascinated by other cultures and their traditions. I find myself learning something new almost every day from others, in their progress towards self-expression and the eradication of inhibition.
 I thoroughly enjoy working with oils and wax. Wax is versatile and I love its texture and lucidity. Art is not just a pleasurable it is a portal into the roads less travelled by - so, I paint.
-Layla Ebrahim

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