By Shafeeqa Effendi Isaacs, Nov 15

My dad, Abubakar Effendi, encouraged and nurtured my creative spirit. I remember the endless supply of paper, crayons, paint and even more importantly, the praise and pride of my father. I think his praise and encouragement as a child was the most significant part of my creative foundation.

My favourite memory was when my siblings and I – all under 10 years of age, visited the technical college he taught at. As we stood in front of the class, he asked the students to draw a simple picture of a house and a man. After looking at their drawings, my dad burst into laughter and said proudly “My children can draw better than you!”. We later drew our versions on the board where he pointed out how our proportions were perfect, taught to us by him while drawing one day. This of course, made us feel very talented!

Growing up, my parents allowed me to draw freely all over the place: on the passage walls as a toddler, on the kitchen table, on the driveway floor and on the walls in the backyard up until the age of eleven or twelve. Creativity was never confined to a particular space or time, it just happened all the time. When I was older, my dad took me to a diverse selection of art classes. It ranged from after-school classes at Frank Joubert, to Saturday mornings at CAP (Community Arts Project) in Woodstock and others in between. It was enlightening to experience the diversity and perspectives of art at such a young age. As an adult, I can appreciate all the energy, commitment and sacrifices that it took.

My dad started his career as a carpenter, has a qualification in teaching and studied Psychology. Although he doesn’t draw or paint much, he has a creative mind and is skilled with his hands. He can make and do anything, from all things building related such as working plans and technical drawings, tiling, woodwork etc. to cooking. Before the digital age, he loved black and white photography, particularly candid street photography and portraits. He also does the most beautiful calligraphy.

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