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The Nando’s Art Initiative: Celebrating the work of young artists

While some might already consider a flame-grilled PERi-PERi chicken akin to a work of fine art, Nando’s is committed to further expanding its diners’ cultural horizons by shining a light on the work of young artists.

The Nando’s Art Initiative, known this year as YOUthReka, is back with its annual Art Competition which will showcase the works and talents of local aspiring artists, most of whom are still in college.

“For over a decade now, we have focused on providing an avenue for these young artists to share their creativity with the public and make art more accessible to all. For a long time, and in fact until today, there is still a perception that art is only accessible to a very niche group of people, which is not true, because art can be created and enjoyed by anyone”, said Mac Chung Lynn, Group CEO of Nando’s Malaysia.

The competition ran from the 1st of March to the 31st May this year and received a total of 468 submissions in either the Fine Art or Digital Art category  40 of which were then selected to be part of an exhibition at Publika from the 14th to 24th of August.

The exhibition also showcased additional displays of eight pieces by local autistic artists and a special Pop-Art session with art collective Titikmerah.

On the final day of the exhibition, a prize giving ceremony was also held to celebrate the winners of the 2018 YouthReka Art Competition.

The winner of the Fine Art category was Choo Ai Xin, who was praised for her piece titled, Old Town Ipoh.

Choo Ai Xin with Old Town Ipoh
Choo Ai Xin with Old Town Ipoh

Old Town Ipoh is an acrylic painting featuring the old shop walls and building structures in Old Town Ipoh. Ai Xin felt a sense of nostalgia towards these buildings and reminisced about how these were shops she frequently visited and walked by. She found the textures of these buildings to be one-of-a-kind, with its many layers of paint and gradually fading colours beginning to peel off. Her painting is a charming portrait of a town so familiar to many and illustrates the rich history its walls have had to endure.

Other winners of the Fine Art category included 1st runner-up Ong Cai Bin, for her work Peep’s World II, a piece meant to be a part of her ‘Peeping’ series, and 2nd runner-up Lau Pi Yoke, for her piece A View of The Past, a painting depicting how easily memories, once so deeply rooted in our minds, begin to fade with time.

In the Digital Art category, the winner of the main prize was Chew Song Kee with his piece entitled Crow Guest.

Chew Song Kee with Crow Guest
Chew Song Kee with Crow Guest

Crow Guest is Song Kee’s attempt at depicting himself as a crow. He uses art to express his personality and the way he feels about himself and, upon finding that he shared many traits with the cunning bird, produced a piece that had his face morphed with one.

Other winners of the category were 1st runner-up Nur Ain Shariffuddin, with her piece The Spirit of Adventure, which was inspired by the many trips she took as a child to Sungai Tekala, and 2nd runner-up Chew Yi Kai with Maternal, depicting the bond between mother and child.

This year’s event also paid tribute to the late Syed Nabil Syed Nahar, former Chief Advisor and skilled art consultant with over 20 years of experience in the field. An instrumental figure in the founding of the art initiative, he was adored by all he worked with.

Chung Lynn reflected on this, noting that this year’s competition “is a memorable and heartfelt one to many of us at Nando’s. Even though we have lost an invaluable individual, I believe that his [Syed Nabil Syed Nahar] legacy lives on with the Nando’s Art Initiative programme.”

She continued to say that she hoped the platform would continue to serve as an avenue to support and  encourage young people to explore and showcase their creativity.

With its roots so firmly steeped in preserving culture and heritage, Nando’s has always been about more than just serving piquant plates of grilled chicken. The Nando’s Art Initiative is a remarkable effort to support the local arts community and provides a worthwhile opportunity to expose the work of young creators to the masses.

To find out more about the Nando’s Art Initiative, you can check out their website

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