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'NAFAS' - A breath of fresh art to celebrate diversity

17 March 2021

6 min read

20 emerging women artists showcase their creative abilities at Maybank’s latest art exhibition


In conjunction with International Women’s Day (IWD) Celebration, Maybank is hosting its third Women Artists Exhibition series entitled ‘RRRAWRRR! 2021: NAFAS - Maybank’s Emerging Women Artists Exhibition’.


The NAFAS exhibition is the first Maybank Women Artists Exhibition series to be showcased in a virtual gallery space following the launch of the Maybank Virtual Art Gallery @ Balai Seni, in 2020.


Serenaded by soothing music, visitors to the NAFAS exhibition will get to experience 27 artworks by 20 talented women artists who are well-versed in various mediums such as 3 dimensional artworks, visual performance arts, video art, pigment ink on photo paper, watercolour paintings, modelling clay, pyrography, acrylic on plywood and acrylic on canvas.


The artworks focuses on subject matters that highlight the qualities of creative women with inspirational and vibrant perspectives on their worldview. It also provides an immersive contemporary artistic experience, showcasing the unrestrained creativity of women artists and offers a journey to the frontier of Malaysia’s art scene where conventions and normative practices are blurred.


The NAFAS exhibition is part of Maybank’s commitment in celebrating persity, as well as the social, economic, cultural and political advancements of women and the interpretation of fine arts through the lens of women artists.


Chief Sustainability Officer Maybank, Shahril Azuar Jimin said “NAFAS refers to the unique rhythms of life that is filled with enjoyment as well as challenges. It is about having the sense of freedom to creatively express and embrace new opportunities in these changing times, no matter the gender. We hope that viewers will be left in awe when they visit this exhibition as they will experience a new breath of art showcased by these amazing emerging women artists.”


“We believe that this exhibition correlates with this year’s IWD theme, #choosetochallenge as each artwork challenges the creative abilities of the artists and showcases their intriguing perspectives and unlimited creativity. We are extremely honoured to be in the presence of such creative inpiduals who have come forward to express their views through such amazing works of art, depicting the power of women.”


“This exhibition also reaffirms Maybank’s commitment to supporting the advancement of women which is an integral part of our mission in humanising financing services,” added Shahril.


Shahril also said the NAFAS art exhibition is one of the many events organized by Maybank in conjunction with IWD 2021. Prior to the launch of the virtual art exhibition, Maybank hosted various webinar sessions touching on topics such as ‘Up on My ‘Feet’ Again’ – Mental Toughness in Overcoming Adversity, which featured guest speaker, YB Datuk Senator Ras Adiba Radzi, ‘Inclusive persity: Boosting A Sustainable Culture’ which was participated by Datuk Nora Abdul Manaf, Group Chief Human Capital Officer Maybank; Dato’ Rafique Merican, Chairman of the Maybank Group Sustainability Council and Michelle King, Leading Global Expert in Gender Equality & Director of Inclusion at Netflix, and ‘Robot Queen to Change the World’ which featured guest speaker, Marita Cheng, founder of Robogals and Aubot (Australia).


The participating artists for the ‘NAFAS’ exhibition are Aishah Mokhtar, Balqis Tajali, Alicia Lau, Dipali Gupta, Eleanor Goroh, Esha Hashim, Hanisah Johari, Intan Rafiza, Kok Siew Wai, Leong How Yi, Lisa Foo, Mesita Jee, Nadirah Zakariya, Nawwar Shukirah Ali, Okui, Ayu & Desi, Pamela Tan Poh Sin, Sonia Luhong, Tiong Chai Heing, Eryn and Xiang Yi Wong.


The exhibition is curated by well-known guest curator, Suzy Sulaiman, who has vast experience in the local and regional art scene.


Aishah Mokhtar, one of the participating artist of the exhibition said “It is a beautiful thing to see what women can do despite our everyday roles dictated by society. Women still managed to create something sincere from their heart and somehow that creation has resonated with almost everyone.”


Kok Siew Wai, a participating video artist of the exhibition said “Art is a way of self-knowledge and discovery. To understand oneself is the first step to be taken in order to understand humanity at large. Wishing all my fellow women a life of integrity, independence and confidence! Happy Women's Day!”


Some of the artworks on display are up for sale with 20% of the proceeds to be channeled to various charitable organisations.


Visitors who wish to experience the ‘RRRAWRRR! 2021: NAFAS - Maybank’s Emerging Women Artists Exhibition’ as well as other virtual exhibitions at the Virtual Art Gallery @ Balai Seni Maybank can do so at


Balai Seni Maybank has been actively hosting Malaysian and international artists since its establishment in the 1980s. Some of the biggest names in the local art scene today have, in the past, exhibited their artworks at Balai Seni Maybank, which continues to support the new generation of visual arts practitioners.


Maybank Foundation, which was established in 2010, actively supports community programmes under six key pillars namely Arts & Culture, Education, Community Empowerment, Environmental persity, Healthy Living and Disaster Relief.