As a child, Sarawak-born contemporary artist Anniketyni Madian loved working with her hands.
Years of accompanying her father on his construction projects and tinkering around with work tools soon led to an avid interest in wood sculpting—a complex and beautiful art genre which she would learn to master with tremendous skill and artistry.
"Wood has a lot of connotations to Malaysian heritage craft, and became a really apt vehicle through which I could bring my local context into contemporary art discourse," she says. "I have become really excited by my ability to bring a sense of movement and fluidity into what is considered a hard, inflexible material; it has been an enjoyable challenge.”
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Being recognised for my contributions in bringing the Malaysian contemporary art ecology to a global audience makes me proud – I feel like an ambassador for local culture.— Anniketyni Madian
Not long after graduating with a Fine Arts degree from UiTM (Universiti Teknologi MARA), Anniketyni soon caught the attention of art collectors with her boundary-pushing woodworking techniques and elaborately designed sculptures, many of which are inspired by the distinct ‘Pua Kumbu’ woven textile unique to the women of the ‘Iban’ tribe in Sarawak. In an ode to her Iban heritage, Anniketyni is at the forefront of a generation of Malaysian artists who are determined to preserve these treasured but elusive art forms today.
"Several of the patterns I use today are in fact drawn from my family’s archive, thus they are deeply personal to me and my journey as a sculptor," she explains.
Anniketyni's dedication to her craft sets her apart as one of the few artists in Malaysia who are actively exploring and experimenting with this unique art form using wood. It’s no surprise to note that her sculptures can be found across the globe in private art collections as well as in the offices of organisations like the UN, Google, The Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur, One&Only and WOLO Kuala Lumpur to name a few.
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