Critics called him 'crazy'
Former auxiliary police officer became full-time batik artist and is now out to break a record
Some lanterns at this year's SingEx Mid-Autumn Festival at the Singapore Expo will have a decidedly Singapore feel.
Locally renowned batik artist Ika Zahri, 48, will be conducting workshops on how to paint Chinese lanterns in a batik style at the festival.
That is not all.
Mr Ika is also leading an attempt to break the Singapore record for the most number of hand-painted lanterns.
The aim is 10,000 lanterns, which would be more than 15 times the current record of 568, which was set in 2013 at VivoCity.
When he was approached for this event by SingEx, he admitted that he was worried because it was something he had not done before.
"I was afraid that I would not be able to do a good job (of attempting to break the record)," he said.
"But it would be an achievement for me (if we succeed)."
Mr Ika is no stranger to marrying different cultures in his work and he likes collaborating with artists from different backgrounds.
In March, he worked with Indian artists who specialise in Rangoli (floor painting) at the Chingay celebrations.
Batik painting has always been a huge part of his life. His father is Cultural Medallion winner Sarkasi Said.
"It is in my blood. Since (I was) young, I've always followed my dad around whenever he had exhibitions," he said.
"He helped develop my interest and liking for artwork."
But Mr Ika worked as an auxiliary police officer before becoming a full-time batik artist.
He admits that it was a difficult decision to go full-time, but said his father gave him the confidence to do it.
Many of his friends labelled him as "crazy" when he wanted to do batik painting full-time.
But Mr Ika managed to prove his critics wrong. His wife, Madam Zarinah, 48, was initially one of those critics.
"I asked him if he could manage and he said yes. So we did it together as a family," she said.
Madam Zarinah quit her job in the shipping industry to be a full-time housewife when the children were born. She also helped Mr Ika out with his business.
"I'm very proud of Ika because he did everything on his own to achieve whatever he has today," she said.
"It is in my blood. Since (I was) young, I've always followed my dad around whenever he had exhibitions.."
- Batik artist Ika Zahri on the influence of his father, Cultural Medallion winner Sarkasi Said
What: Singex Mid-Autumn Festival @ Singapore Expo
When: Noon to 9pm, Sept 18 to 20
Where: Singapore Expo Hall 6A
Admission is free.