Feature image credit: Adeline Chua

Two-weeks ago, we stumbled across a Facebook post by Adeline Chua, a teacher from Bagan Serai, Perak who showed us how art inspires unity over differences.

In the post, Adeline tells how she had spotted a student’s newfound passion for drawing, which went on to spark the curiousity of his fellow classmates.

“After he finishes telling me about goddess Kali (and his major break-up, also expressed in drawing), something weird happens.

“A Muslim girl calls him over,” Adeline writes in her post.

The girl had called him over to see his artworks. The image above was snapped by Adeline as the boy went on to explain about the Hindu deities that he drew.

The conversation, as Adeline explains, went on to other stuff.

“Eventually, the conversation leads to other stuff. Like how K thinks dogs make better pets compared to cats. And the Muslims have to disagree cos, you know, differences. And no, no argument breaks out. They merely move on to another subject.”

Eksentrika approached Adeline to get in touch with the boy to discover more about him and his artworks.

Meet 13-year-old Navien Murugan from Bagan Serai, Perak
  • Save

Meet 13-year-old Navien Murugan from Kampung Soon Lee, Bagan Serai, Perak. 

When we met Navien, he was in the midst of completing an artwork he had drawn of the Hindu goddess Kali.

Using just color pencils, inkpen and crayons, the 13-year-old revealed to us that he only started drawing early this year.

“My friend had brought his brother’s sketchbook to school. When I saw sketches of the gods and goddesses, I was inspired to do the same,” he says, while coloring Kali.

Navien first drew Karuppu Sami – a minor deity in the Hindu pantheon, prominently worshipped by the local Tamil community as a granter of wishes.

Navien with his first artwork next to his favorite deity, Murugan.
  • Save

Navien with his first artwork next to his favorite deity, Murugan.

It took more than 50 tries before Navien got the image of the deity right.

Since then, the boy has drawn images of Shiva the destroyer in its Lingam form, several other Hindu deities and Indian motifs. He has also attempted a Deepavali motif of a peacock.

His mother, S. Sumathy, says Navien is the first person in the family to dabble in art.

“At times it’s quite challenging to respond to his eccentricities because I would find doodles of Hindu deities in his school books,” she says.

Initially she had threw away Navien’s sketchbook out of worry that the boy would neglect his studies.

  • Save

Navien not only possesses artistic talent, his knowledge on Hindu deities is equally commendable.

But now the family is considering to enrol Navien for art classes, in exchange for his promise to pay attention in school.

Navien’s family and friends have also requested him to draw other subjects such as nature but the boy is adamant to continue drawing Hindu deities.

Sumathy believes Navien’s subject interest was piqued as he frequently followed his grandfather to help at the nearby Hindu temple.

  • Save

However, art remains his primary passion for now.

“I like drawing these gods. I see them in my mind and I want to recreate them,” Navien says, adding that he finds joy in drawing Kali the most.

Since he took up drawing as a passion, the boy has made newfound friends in school – before which he was more of a recluse.

“Ever since I started drawing, everyone wants to be my friend.

“My best friend now is Arif, he loves drawing too. We like to challenge each other in drawing and have also helped our teacher make posters together!”

Navien hopes to continue getting better at his drawing and is aiming to join art competitions.

His ambition when he grows up, however, is to become a scientist in line with his family’s hopes.

Have an interesting personality such as Navien to share with us? Drop us a comment or send us an email to editors@eksentrika.com