Haris Rashid’s ‘fluid’ celebrates 10-year journey as a full-time artist

His latest exhibition at ZHAN Art | Space in Petaling Jaya showcases a decade worth of eccentric artworks 


IT’S hard to believe that Haris Rashid once thought that he didn’t want to be a full-time artist. Growing up, he saw many artists struggling to make ends meet and he did not want that for himself. 

Fortunately for art lovers, his dyslexic background meant that the contemporary artist was willing to take risks and bombarded art galleries in the Klang Valley with his oeuvre of artworks, asking for a solo exhibition. 

One gallery took a chance, the show was a success and the gallery brought Haris’ artworks across Asia, cementing his place in the art world as an upcoming artist. 

“I am glad to say that I am fortunate enough to be given many different opportunities to sustain and support myself as an artist. Financial stability does affect my anxiety at times, especially when it comes to paying my bills, but fortunately (it’s) enough at this point, I am able to create works without fear,” the 31-year-old said. 

‘Transit III’, 2017 acrylic on paper 59x84cm. One of Haris’ earliest works depicts a portrait of his mother, who used to be a batik teacher

A Decade of Works 

This years marks his first decade as a contemporary artist and his latest exhibition “fluid” at ZHAN Art | Space in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, reflects the growth and evolution of Haris’ visual language, notably his signature motifs of local tropical plants and Malaysian wild-life animals. 

The compilation of Haris’ works, charting his artistic and evolving approach to render his love for nature, is curated by fellow artist/curator Mona KV and showcases a decade worth of eccentric artworks. The exhibition consists of 45 unique artworks created between 2014 and 2023 with a recurring theme of water — a symbolic metaphor chosen to represent the ups and down of Haris’ journey as an artist and a human being. 

“Water symbolises the flow and essence of life. In choosing this theme, I wanted to acknowledge the tenacity of humanity in adapting to changes in life and the ability to manoeuvre through difficult times,” said Haris. 

The exhibition aims to transfix the audiences’ attention with a visual spectacle of works, starting with archive pieces that reflect a more experimental phase. 


‘Muka Bumi’, 2019 acrylic on canvas 91x132cm. This mid-career work showcases Haris’ love for nature and using words to reflect his art

Love for Nature 

Haris’ mixed heritage identity was first explored in the early days, but soon his creative works shifted towards his love for nature. Flora and fauna quickly became synonymous with Haris’ work. 

“Nature to me is always beautiful and endlessly mysterious as humans have yet to discover everything. It has the ability to evolve and grow on its own. 

“The sometimes predictable and yet unpredictable quality of nature inspires me a lot and I believe that nature in its most raw form is the building blocks of humanity,” Haris said. 

As he grew as an artist, his works take on a more mature approach, connecting his life experiences and emotions into subtle depictions. 

“In the beginning, I focused a lot on animals, I was simply fascinated by them, their personalities as well as being majestic creatures. I was also influenced by many illustrative books and comics. 

“My earlier works then had a lot of line works, focusing on the technique, to showcase the details I was able to put in towards creating the animals on canvas. I was exploring the animals form and characters without any other agenda. My works slowly involved from then.” 

The artist said he has changed quite a bit both mentally and spiritually. He has also started to explore a number of narratives, particularly to reflect on current issues including personal life questions and experiences that his mind often ponder. 

“As I am always inspired by my surroundings, people’s stories or the news and the social media, the works currently reflect more human stories as well. To reflect what it means to be human and kick-start a conversation of reflection and get lost in creating an artwork.” 

As he looks towards the future, Haris aspires to continue creating new works that not only speaks to him, but also resonates with the audience. 

Celebration Exhibition 

According to ZHAN Art | Space founder and curator Desmond Tong, “fluid” is a celebration exhibition. 

“It is not often that an artist presents themselves with a decade-long career in the art scene and continues to showcase amazing works. Haris is undoubtedly a multi-talented artist who not only intrigues the viewers with his canvases, sculptures, digital works, but he is also an impressive mural artist. 

“Most recently, Haris also completed a mural for the F&N Fun Flavours brand-new packaging campaign. We are extremely proud and supportive of Haris, and hope that the audience connects well and sees his growth as an artist with this exhibition.” 

Visitors can look forward to seeing artworks of various mediums, including acrylic, oil painting, watercolour, colour pencil and mixed media on wood. There is also a batik installation specially created to mark the decade-long milestone. 

Haris’ artworks at the exhibition are for sale with prices ranging from RM270. The showcase runs till April 7. 

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition