A heartwarming tale unfolds in the quiet town of Kelantan, where a retired soldier has continued to pour his love for his country into beautiful works of art.
Ridzwan Abdul Wahab, the proud owner of a humble barbershop, embarked on a remarkable journey of creativity after his dedicated service as a soldier came to an end in 2010.
Photo via BERNAMA
Within the cozy confines of his barbershop in Kampung Bertam Baru, Ridzwan transformed a modest corner into a sanctuary of artistry. Here, amid the buzz of clippers and the hum of conversations, he began to create a breathtaking collection of paintings, totaling an astonishing 1,500 pieces, all while awaiting his cherished customers.
Though the artistry bug had bitten him for a while, it was just five years ago that Ridzwan decided to focus his creative energy on sketching portraits of Malaysia's prime ministers. His journey began with a poignant tribute to the Father of Independence, Tunku Abdul Rahman, and from there, his artistic repertoire expanded to encompass other esteemed leaders of the nation.
Originally, Ridzwan created these portraits purely for his own personal collection, a labor of love that paid homage to the leaders who had shaped his beloved country. However, fate had other plans in store for his art. Interested individuals soon came knocking, eager to acquire these evocative pieces.
Photo via BERNAMA
With a twinkle in his eye, Ridzwan shared, "I am incredibly proud to craft these portraits because they represent our national leaders, and they hold a special place in my heart. I find great joy in immortalizing the faces of these leaders each time a new prime minister takes the helm. So far, I've been blessed with customers who have made bookings to bring these portraits into their homes."
But Ridzwan's passion for painting isn't just about sharing his talent; it's also a labor of love that keeps the flame of patriotism alive. He happily accepts commissions, charging a modest fee of RM50 for black-and-white masterpieces and varying from RM100 to RM200 for vibrant, colored works.
With dedication etched into his every brushstroke, Ridzwan can complete a black-and-white painting in a single day, while colored paintings, especially larger ones, may take two to three days to come to life. His chosen tools are simple yet effective - pencils and pastels made from chalk. Each painting finds its perfect home in a custom-made frame that complements its unique size and character.
In the heart of Kelantan, Ridzwan Abdul Wahab's barbershop isn't just a place for haircuts; it's a haven where love for the country blossoms into beautiful works of art. His story is a heartwarming reminder that creativity knows no boundaries, and even in retirement, one can continue to serve and inspire, one brushstroke at a time.