Rediscover the First Glimpse of the World

by Tan Ean Nee

In August this year, I received a series of sketches of leprosy survivors from Yew Souf, one of the members of Sketchwalk Kuala Lumpur. He had drawn the portraits of my old friends on old, yellowish paper, deftly capturing their characteristics, facial expressions and gestures. I really like his simple and down-to-earth artistic style. Familiarity breeds indifference and his artwork took away my indifference, driving me to continue listening and gathering the life stories of the people in the portraits, pushing me to capture those fleeting feelings, thoughts, memories and images. It gave me an impulse—the impulse to race against time and do more for my old friends while they are still alive.


The first time I met Yew Souf and Sketchwalk Kuala Lumpur was in mid-July of last year. At that time, we were busy with our crowdfunding project to build the Valley of Hope’s Story Gallery. Yew Souf brought a group of friends who also love to sketch to our settlement where they whipped out their pencils and started to record the heritage buildings, beautiful scenery and residents’ daily life on drawing paper. Later, the founder of Sketchwalk Kuala Lumpur, Madam Yong Li Yun, contacted me and told me that they intended to exhibit and sell their artwork at the launching ceremony of the Story Gallery project. Half of the proceeds from their sales would go towards the Story Gallery project. I was so touched by their intention and sincerity.

Since then, a year has passed and Sketchwalk Kuala Lumpur is currently celebrating its third anniversary. Li Yun has contacted me again to inform me that she is planning to publish the “Sketchwalk Kuala Lumpur 3rdAnniversary Commemoration Album” and will donate a part of the profits towards our Story Gallery project. Li Yun said that her team members like to sketch at the Valley of Hope. They hope to contribute to our project and at the same time, encourage more young artists to do their part for society.


I always think that the hustle and bustle of modern life causes many people to have little time to relax and unwind. They don’t even have time to look back on the things that have happened in front of their eyes. When one is busy from day to night, one becomes weaker. This group of artists are passionate about drawing. They know the value of art. They choose to leave the busy world behind and silently grab the opportunity to put their hearts into recording what is in front of them. Through this, they are able to spend some relaxing time alone. It is commendable that whenever they have the ability to contribute, they are willing to bring happiness and hope to others. Through the sale of their artwork at the charity exhibition, they keep love going.

I think that for a creator of art, the most important thing is to find an “eye” that belongs to him and him only. When they have this “eye”, the world they see is beautiful and rich. To me, sketching requires a solitary, peaceful and relaxed state of mind. Sketches are precious because they are unpretentious, flowing and candid; they are not embellished and showy. I hope that in the future, more friends with the same artistic interests will rediscover that first glimpse they had of this world. I hope that they will keep a simple, childlike heart, be able to withstand solitude and the bustle of daily life, and resist the lure of modern life’s temptations.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish Sketchwalk Kuala Lumpur “Happy 3rd Anniversary!” And I hope that the forthcoming charity exhibition and sale is a resounding success!


Translator: Jessy Ooi

Editor: Jiak Ling

Ean Nee Tan