As the answer escapes from their throat and permeates the space between us, I look back at them in a state of shock, jaw open, and ultimately, aghast with the number that was presented to me. Impossible, I thought to myself.
They arrived slightly after 9 AM on the day of their interview and having observed them from afar, I guessed, and as conclusively as I could have guessed, that they were just as shy and nervous as the rest of us when we’re in new, unfound environments. But that didn’t stop them from breaking away from their comfort zone and sharing details about themselves, colouring in the exuberant passion that they hold for their art.
“I am old”, they giggle as they conclude their answer. Fairly enough, Anju resembles a timid and shy younger twenty-something—full of flair and promise in their eyes. A multidisciplinary artist, Anju has and still continues to dabble in the arts of many forms. At this point in time, they continue practicing the art of film, theatre, and poetry above all else. “ I like to combine these art forms just to see what can come out of it”.
Though some might consider the dabbling of many things a sign of weakness (the saying “jack of all trades, master of none” is applied with a pinch of salt here). Anju excels best when reaching out into a state of the unknown and finding meaning and answers in it. A social chameleon, they admit to the camera, strikingly with a smile, that they would love to shapeshift into the moods of their day. When we study their intent in creating and their interest in wanting to be everything, we come to understand that in the end, we, like Anju, yearn to be seen, heard, and accepted in social spaces and communities.
There is a sense of romanticism that exists in this need that Anju – and by extension, all of us – have. The need to reach out, grappling to find love and life in everything that we can do with our hands. Anju is sure that they are able to find this in the Ether. They welcome you there.
Anjali Nijjar Venugopal (Anju) is a multidisciplinary artist. Born (1995) and raised in Sabah, they graduated from Point College Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur with a Diploma in Film & TV Production. Anju was a resident artist in Rimbun Dahan. Anju has always had a rebellious streak in their creative work. They do not like feeling caught or held down by their self-expression. Most of their creative works are splayed-out messes, be it in their art performances, films, or paintings.
They are always looking to break free from molds placed to keep us in check – those created by society, Their paintings are abstract, experimental pieces that are based on their impulses and self-expression. They play with colors, different mediums, and anything they can get their hands on. They love telling stories and finding different ways to merge their crafts.