I haven't entered an art competition in a long time. The last -- and significant one -- was the Malaysian Contemporary Art Competition organised by the National Art Gallery way back in 1983, in which I received an award.
But last year, I was invited to enter the Passions International Art Competition. I remember telling my wife that if I were to enter it, I wanted to enter it to win. She wasn't as self-assured about it as I was. Her argument was that it wouldn't be easy with entries from international competitors.
So, I set to work...mostly to prove her that I could do it!
The theme of the competition was "Conservation of Nature", and I produced two pieces. Of the two, I selected "Landscape of the Belum Moth" to be entered into the competition. It was a piece to show nature's rich offerings and how it could all disappear just easily. I was inspired by some articles I had read about our beautiful Belum forest.
"Ferns at Janda Baik" -- the 2nd piece submitted
The piece clinched the first prize in the competition judged by internationally-recognised artists, Raja Azhar, a well-known Malaysian artist; Eric Quah, an Australian-based Malaysian-born artist; James Sim, a Penang-born artist now based in London; and Donald Smith, founder of Jiiva Fine Arts in Jakarta and Starhill, Kuala Lumpur.