He got A for Art for his Form 3 exams, but his autism ended his further education. His parents were simple people working in government in Kedah. With what they could afford, his father bought him paint, canvas & art materials and even sponsored a short stint with an art teacher 68km away in Penang. His father, Subramaniam, still keeps the 1000+ drawings of Power Rangers. He remembers fondly how his then teenage son was always painting, sitting on the floor.
Kirtanraw recently celebrated his 25th birthday and thanks to his very supportive parents, his 8th year as an artist. He is the youngest of 3 siblings.
Hotel Seri Malaysia Sungai Petani was his 1st patron and it instilled a sense of pride and self-worth. It motivated Kirtanraw to paint more. Another memorable achievement when he was commissioned to do a mural for the town’s Amanjaya Mall. It took Kirtanraw one month to complete.
His devoted father also arranged for his son to exhibit at places like:
– Blackwood Café & Restaurant Sg Petani.
– Artists Corner in D’Piazza Mall, Penang where Kirtanraw had a solo exhibition of 50 of his acrylic and oil paintings titled ‘Fantastic Art’.
– Island Gallery Penang, where he sold 4 paintings. He donated 50% of the profits to the Bold Association for Children with Special Needs.
– National Autism Society Art Bazaar at Bank Negara Malaysia.
– Universiti Sains Penang Art Museum Exhibition graced by the Raja of Perlis.
– ART for AUTISM festival in Chennai where Kirtanraw sent 4 of his oil paintings.
Meaningful Art Pieces.
His father took his own savings and his EPF money to set up a show room in his own house for his son. The artist now has a simple art gallery. He does oil on canvas, and pyrography (fire on word). Most of his painting are created from imagination.
When his father lost his job in 2018, father, mother and sone started to showcase Kirtanraw’s art work at shopping mall bazaars in Kuala Lumpur full time. They made the 382km journey for their first one at Citta Mall. They were very encouraged to have sold several pieces. They have since participated in mall bazaars in Atria, Starling and Publika.
马 到 功 成 Mah Tow Gong Sing
I met the trio at Atria. Kirtanraw delighted my Ambank Team with his feng shui version of Golden Harvest, which is now hanging in various offices in the bank and homes. He also specialises in horses. When I retired this year, one of my farewell gift was a horse drawn by Kirtanraw with the message “ma tow gong sing” which means that “the horse has arrived, and the work is done”. So powerful and meaningful. I really hope more people get the opportunity to have this very touching symbolism.
Kirtanraw has an ambition to be self-reliant by 2030. It is my wish for him to have his own “ma tow gong sing”.
Here is art with a strong memorable, sticky story. The art itself is detailed & deep, and is filled with layers of emotions. Kirtanraw sees something in his beautiful mind and does not stop painting till he has fully expressed his imagination. It is not just a picture but all sorts of imaginable wonders.
There is increased appreciation of autism and sometimes, the talent it uncovers. The environment (context) is right.
There is more interest building up in the internet. Mavens awakening.
Connections are growing.
And there is brisk sales as the TRIO make their rounds at the busy shopping malls.
Salute the Tenacious Trio.
This is a phenomena about to break, like all the stories on The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. I wish the Tenacious Trio all the best, and salute them for their inspiring journey, and for inspiring us.