KUALA LUMPUR, May 1 — It hasn’t been long since Muhammad Hafizi Abdul Karim ventured into the field of leaf carving but he certainly has the skill and talent to succeed.
This was proven after he produced many stunning artworks such as the portraits of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Lieutenant Adnan and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
Not only that, the nature craft of the 31-year-old artist who lives in Sungai Petani, Kedah also comes in various designs such as calligraphy, animals, buildings and transportation.
In fact, his talent once became a sensation after he hand-carved the image of the Al-Aqsa Mosque as a sign of solidarity with Palestinians in an artwork entitled ‘Free Gaza’ and shared it on a Facebook group ‘Lukis’ in May last year.
Muhammad Hafizi, who calls himself as ‘Pakar Bedah Daun’ (leaf surgeon), said his art career started after fulfilling his wife’s request to carve her portrait onto a leaf.
“I have always loved drawing since I was in school but I only consider it a hobby. However, after my artwork started to gain people’s attention, I decided to get serious about it and make art carving my main source of income.
“After all, leaf carving is relatively new in this country and not many people have ventured into it. Furthermore, this kind of art requires patience, perseverance and meticulousness to do it,” the Kedah-born artist told Bernama.
Explaining the process of leaf carving, Muhammad Hafizi said he preferred to use ‘teja’ leaves as his canvas because they are durable in nature, and once the carving is done, he would dry and preserve the art piece.
“Initially, I used jackfruit leaves but they will shrink when dried, affecting the image that I had produced.
“After drying, I will apply liquid resin on the leaf so as to maintain its quality before it can be framed,” said the artist adding that the teja leaves are collected around his house.
Elaborating, Muhammad Hafizi said each carving would take about two hours to complete, depending on the design requested by customers.
“However, I once took three days to complete the portrait of Pahang Regent Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah using 30 teja leaves, an order I received from the Pahang Youth Council,” he said.
Muhammad Hafizi, who hopes to open an art gallery in 10 years’ time, said the price of his artworks starts from RM100, depending on the design and its intricacy. — Bernama