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Artist Preserves Culture and Heritage in Miniature Art


Pui Wan, a miniature artist from Malaysia, aims to preserve her heritage and culture through her impressive creations. He spends hours, sometimes days, meticulously crafting small versions of everyday products and landscapes. For Pui, it’s not just about preserving his heritage, but about pursuing his passion in life. While graduating with a mechanical engineering degree in 2014, Pui decided to create miniature art full time.

Today, Pui runs a successful Etsy shop and also creates bespoke commercial artwork. He has also been featured in various media outlets, even giving a TedTalk about his life’s work in 2018. Most recently, he appeared on Ryan Reynolds’s show “Ryan Doesn’t Know,” where he taught him how to make a mini hair dryer.

His work attracts both visitors and natives. It gives foreigners a glimpse into Malaysian culture while creating a nostalgic feel for the locals. Pui’s work unites the world in some way because it reminds people to preserve their culture, whatever it may be.

Pui enjoys the fact that her artwork keeps her childhood memories alive and pays tribute to her heritage. It is a way of capturing sentimental moments in life and allowing people to relive good memories. Perhaps the most fantastic part of his story is that he is completely self-taught. He started in the craft years before graduation and brought his love of miniature art to college. It just took a book on the art form to capture his interest forever.

“I first came across the miniature art of a book, and that book is teaching how to make miniatures,” Pui said. “It was around 2007, and I was quite young; I immediately became obsessed with it because I was quite surprised and didn’t know that we could turn something so small. “

Preserving heritage and telling stories through miniature art

Pui creates a wide variety of dioramas and objects, from houses to workshops and food stalls. Your creativity seems to have no limits! It is inspiring to see your artwork come to life and to see the intricate details involved in the process. It certainly takes a lot of patience and dedication to make the miniature art, and Pui makes it look effortless!

Some of his greatest achievements include the following creations:

  • A sharpening shop for scissors. He decided to interview a local man who used to run his store. He’s retired now, but people still look to him to sharpen dull scissors. After knowing the details of his shop, he created a beautiful replica of the craftsman’s shop. Include workbenches, tools, machinery, and other items that you would find at a scissors-sharpening store.
  • A barber shop. Although the store closed in early 2020, his memory lives on in the mini art replica created by Pui. It includes the classic barber chairs, hair dryers and shampoos, and even a wall clock. He brought it to the store before it closed, and the resemblance between the two is remarkable.
  • An old cafe. On his website, Pui describes visiting a local coffee shop hidden from the chaos of the city. It is located in an alley where his sister took her wedding photos. After visiting the store, Pui fell in love with the landscape and decided to recreate it. Since then, the alley has been rebuilt, but Pui preserved the culture and heritage of the area in his work. It’s complete with vintage-style Malay architecture, doors and tables, artwork, coffee cups, and breakfast foods. She says: “This work contains the art of building the structure of our ancestors and the memories between the neighborhoods.”
  • A house and a garden. A man asked Pui to build a replica of his parents’ house, since they lived far from him. Contains all the luxuries of home, including furniture, outdoor plants, and even family pets.

Miniature art creation process.

Many of Pui’s creations are handmade and the basic tools used include foam boards, wood, plastic and paper. He also uses small brushes, paints, and wire to create color and texture. Pui also takes advantage of the pieces of paper to make the scenes realistic. After all, most cafes, homes, and stores have newspapers, magazines, and menus lying around.

“As a craft artist, I love trying to make something with my unused hand. [a] laser cutting machine or 3D printer ”, says Pui. “Because sometimes I think it’s good to challenge yourself and train yourself to do something you’ve never done before.”

Your goal is to capture the essence of every business, setting, and home you create. Pui pays great attention to detail, making sure to label all food and bottles accurately. It takes great precision and willpower to build miniature art. But, being able to portray his heritage makes it all worthwhile. She follows a certain process to make miniature art, which helps keep the work streamlined and efficient.

“Most of the time, we first have to start working on the basement, the foundation. Then, we will go on to make the structure of the building like the walls, the floor, the ceiling, things like that. You know, we have dirt and dust on the floor, we have stains on the wall; so all these things are a crucial element in making the setting more realistic, “he says.

Final thoughts on the artist preserving her culture and heritage with mini art

Miniature art is believed to date back to the 16th century, when the genre first became popular. Artists (edit) at that time he began to create paintings and sculptures in a smaller size and reduced scale. Today, the art form has become more common, and annual shows are even held around the world for artists to display their work.

Some artists create small paintings or prints, but Pui focuses on sculptures and landscapes. She says that art allows her to remember her childhood and keep her heritage alive. The world is constantly changing, but art allows you to preserve memories for a lifetime.





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