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Nibras Sabrina


Please share a bit about you and your artistic background.

I've always been interested in art since I was very little. All I did growing up was drawing, colouring, or doodling. I never tried doing something with paint and a brush before, especially to make something on canvas. In January 2021 I felt really stuck and bored with my routine. I just quit my job at that time which only lasted for 3 months. I figured out I don’t belong working in the office behind desks. It triggered a lot of negative feelings & emotions in me and I went into several depressive episodes. I felt insecure after that and I had so much going on in my head, so I wanted to channel all of that negativity into something therapeutic and, who knows, beautiful. Then I started buying painting equipment which my parents & family really supported, and made my very first painting.

I think COVID-19 really did have an impact on this because otherwise I wouldn’t have had so much time to actually sit down with my feelings and transform them into art. Maybe that’s why I never started before COVID-19, because there were a bunch of other distractions.

I was also inspired to paint after visiting a cafe with a street art concept. This cafe is really edgy and far away. I don’t think a lot of people know about it. I talked to the owner, and he really liked my enthusiasm for their art. So he became my new friend and he encouraged me to start making something. It felt like coming home to me. The people at the cafe are really cool and kind people.

Can tell me a bit more about your mental health?

Ever since I was little, everybody in my house knew that I have anger issues. It’s very explosive and the triggers are small. I threw tantrums almost every day. At first, me and my family thought that it was only a regular anger issue that would go away by itself. But then in late 2018, it turned out to be something else that is more obvious than just a regular anger issue. I was in my last semester of study in University, so I had to finish my thesis. It was really hard for me because I got into the wrong major as my dad forced me to take economics. That’s why I struggled. Until it exploded like a volcano in the process of making my thesis.

Suddenly all of my childhood memories came back to me all at once and I collapsed. I threw nasty tantrums again every day. I truly suffered mentally & physically. Until we all agree that I need to get professional help. So I went to a psychiatrist and she told me that I have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). It developed since I was very young because of my family environment. My mom and dad never get along and I was raised under a very turbulent marriage. My dad was emotionally absent most of the time and my mom was verbally abusive back in the day.


After the diagnosis I learned a lot about my illness and I showed significant improvement. I recognised myself more, what triggers me, how to calm myself down, how to be mindful and aware of my own emotions. Though things were very hard in the past, I’m grateful that my parents and my siblings are still very supportive towards me. Even though sometimes it still affects me and I think it will always be. Some days are ok, some days are not, but I’m trying my best.

I was wondering if your creative practices help with your mental health and wellbeing?

Oh yes, very much. It has touched me to my core, I could cry. I felt understood and accepted by myself when I paint, and I feel like the canvas is a safe place for me to spill anything that I’m feeling.

Work Spotlight: 'Animal Abuse'

This one is called “Animal Abuse”. Before I painted this, I watched the classic animated Disney’s “Bambi”. My heart just broke. I think animals are innocent creatures with pure souls. They use their instincts, unique abilities and features to survive. They can think, they can feel and they can love too. Yet they’re so clueless to how humans could harm them so badly. Hunters, animal abusers, lab tests, contamination of their natural habitats, horrible traditions. I was triggered by so many horrible tragedies of animal abuse that’s been going on around us. I love them so much. Although this painting is colour-popping, I’m actually grieving while painting this one. I’m praying for them.

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'Animal Abuse'

Any lessons you have learned from your artistic journey and ongoing practice?

What I learned from my artistic journey is that artworks are made of feelings. It can transform the negativity inside to something beautiful. It flows like water from your head, to your heart, to your hands, to the canvas. It’s uplifting, it’s healing, it’s forgiving, it’s accepting. We can know ourselves better by creating artworks. I recognise that art goes through phases too, like us, like everything else in this world. So patience and trusting my own timing is also what I’ve learned from this.

More work by Nibras
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See more of Nibras' work on instagram.

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