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Wan Jamila

Biography


Wan Jamila started drawing at the age of 4. She draws her own interpretation of people. She draws intricate patterns and human expressions based on her experiences and observations.

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+6(019)3152662

Wan Jamila was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on the 13th of June in 2002, the elder of two sisters. She also has 3 other grown-up brothers. Jamila was diagnosed as autistic at the age of 4. She has difficulty in verbal communication and social interaction, however is fully aware of what goes on around her. She uses drawings as a way of revealing her feelings of happiness, sadness, anger and joy. 

She went through early intervention program as soon as her condition was diagnosed. She went to a private primary school that provided a program to handle special children like her. There it was noticed that she was prolific in drawing people and events that involved people, in all her exercise books. In the school, she also showed her ability to dance. She could perform a complex dance after having observed a specific dance movement briefly. She could translate all the dance steps into drawings.

When she was about 10, Jamila became fascinated with the use of digital software that she installed herself. She used her forefinger to draw. She has produced thousands of digital drawings using this technique. At the age of 14, her mother decided to train her with proper drawing techniques with the help of a local artist.

Jamila’s drawings are a collection of her memories in terms of her emotions, her passions, and events. She draws intricate patterns and human expressions based on her experiences and observations. Her distinctive style shines through every piece of her work.

My Journey With Jamila

“I started my travels with an autistic child in darkness. It was something I wasn’t prepared for as it was a hard and painful journey. It was challenging having to balance the weight of working a double career as Architect and Lecturer and the responsibility of taking care of an autistic child. Along the way, I was blessed with friends that supported me mentally and morally. I was even more blessed with my youngest daughter (Jemima) for helping me to care for Jamila.

When Jamila was 7 years old in 2009, slowly I saw light through the darkness and began to delve into Jamila’s mind and realize her ways of thinking by coaching her daily at home. I was triumphant at last, when I managed to truly understand her. She is a visual thinker, not a language based thinker. She holds information in ways that people will hardly understand, and see things in ways that others might find unimaginable. It has allowed me to break free from the standard mould of teaching. This discovery has made her far more readable now than she was when she was younger. I learned to adapt to her, not to lead her.

It was becoming tougher when she moved to secondary school in 2015 at the age of 13. Here, I realized that I could not rewind the clock if I had missed the golden opportunity to explore her special talent. At this milestone, I decided to concentrate with what she can do, rather than what she cannot do. As such I made the decision to retire from my career and give full concentration on her gift. She might have developmental and societal behaviour in a different order than her peers, but she is able to accomplish her own victories, when it is her time to do so.

The rocky travels turned into an exciting journey. The pain was a beautiful scar and a reminder. The challenge is a blessing in disguise. Without darkness, the stars can’t shine. I am glad I was given the opportunity to experience a journey with someone so unique like my daughter, Jamila.”

“If they can’t learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn” Dr.O.Ivar Lovaas

 

“Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable”
Franz Kafka

“Autism did not stop Einstein, Mozart, Newton or Temple Grandin from reaching the stars”.

Early Years

Dr. Norizan Rajak

(Urbane Ethos Early Intervention Center, Denai Alam, Shah Alam, Selangor)


"I had the honour to be among the first of Jamila's playmates in 2008, when she was at age 6. Her favourite game was singing and playing patty cake-patty cake and to do sensory "artwork" using foam in order to develop reciprocity and turn taking in play. I still remember how surprised she was when I sprayed the foam on the table and we started doodling on it and she would laugh at my attempt to draw. That sense of humour developed well and she started to initiate games that she enjoyed and learned. Jamila is a joyful and free spirited girl who is set to soar to the best of her potentials. Arts is her language to communicate to the world and I hope there will be many good "listeners" out there who are ready to be engaged as well."

Noor Sa’adah Mohd. Noordin.

(Dyslexia Specialist)


"It has been my utmost pleasure to have been given the opportunity to work with my beautiful talented niece Wan Jamila in her early years in 2010, struggling to overcome her literacy skills.

As a specialist in Dyslexia, the task given was quite a challenge indeed for me as being autistic, she learns differently. Despite the difficulties and challenges, my special affection goes to Jamila for her hard work and perseverance, thriving her best when challenged. Her sense of curiosity and her ability to see the world in her unique perspective is indeed her source of creativity and brilliance!

‘ONE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT TO ACHIEVE BIG DREAMS’ . Keep soaring high my dear, the sky is the limit.”

Primary Schools

Sum Mooi Soo

(Renew Earthlife Therapy Centre)


“I first met Jamila back in 2009 in my therapy room. Back then she was a ‘frighten fearful child’ but somehow we managed to build a trusting bond between us. From then on, I witnessed how she came out off her fear around people and social surroundings. She grows with confidence, though still shy but she knows what she wants and work towards it. Her weakness becomes her ‘gift’ and she is now sharing the pureness rhythm of life with the world.”

Mr. Lee Peng Chiong

(Principal Sri Acmar Primary school)


“It is not the handicap, but the attitude of the normal. To the handicap is the hardest thing to bear. Every child should be given a chance. Nothing is impossible to achieve. Seek and you will find”.

Miss Judith Anthony

(Vice Principal Sri Acmar Primary School)


“A rather timid appearing little girl clutching her mother’s hand and walking through the gates of Sekolah Sri Acmar in the year 2009 soon became the talk of the school. Her extra ordinary talents in drawing and dancing were tremendous. She used to score A for her Art and multi praises from the audience who watched her dancing.”

“Although diagnosed with autism she managed to score a C for her Science in the UPSR examination. She also captured the hearts of the other schoolmates and teachers. Having taught her makes me feel proud of her achievements. The fruit of the labour of the teachers in Sekolah Sri Acmar shines like a star and she is non other than Wan Jamila.”

Jamila with schoolmates during UPSR Examination briefing by Principal at school.
Jamila with the dance team at Klang Executive Club for school concert.

Secondary Schools

Puan Nooraini Ahmad

PKPK, SMK Sek 9, Shah Alam, Selangor


“The environment in SMK Seksyen 9 secondary school is new to Jamila. To an autistic child, change is difficult. Slowly, she learned to adapt and started to improve her social interaction with the schoolmates and teachers. She participates well with group activities, especially co-academic activities which interest her like “Khat” calligraphy. We notice that Jamila will build-up her self-confidence when she is given activities that require creativity. A substantial improvement was seen in Jamila in terms of reading, writing, speech and other vital skills. As a teacher, I believe that Jamila has an intelligence and creativity that can be tapped, nurtured and developed to an optimum level”.

               

Jamila at school doing “Khat” calligraphy.

Khalid Mohd Sapari

Local Artist


MY BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE

“Initially, when I received a call from Jamila’s mother in 2016, I was reluctant to teach Jamila because I had no idea how to handle an autistic child, but with her persuasion, I agreed to give it a try. The feeling of hesitation changed to eagerness when I saw Jamila’s art studio and her art equipment that seemed to be so carefully organised by her mother. I was inspired when her mother presented to me a compilation of Jamila’s work from her early years. I saw great potential in Jamila’s early drawings, she truly was born an artist.”

“Every session of teaching Jamila is a beautiful adventure. Her imaginations are wild, and that makes her different and unique. With an assimilation of technical aspects, it gives birth to wonderful art.

The experience of teaching Jamila is fascinating. The involvement and participation by her passionate mother is truly inspiring. It is a BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE.”

Jamila’s art studio at home.

Interpretation Of Jamila’s Artwork

Jamila’s drawings are a collection of her memories in terms of her emotions, her passions, and events.  She has created a unique masterpiece of her memories in a form of collaged events. In a way, Jamila is telling us that life is all about making memories. Today’s little moments become tomorrow’s precious memories.

Her drawings can be divided into three major categories:

  • Happiness
    • Feeling Happy

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  • Sadness
    • Feeling Sad

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  • Calm
    • A portrait that resembles Jamila’s character (Grace)

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  • Restless
    • Feeling restless at school and wishing for her mother to take her home when was 8.

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  • Travelling
    • This drawing shows Jamila’s desire to travel with Malaysian Airlines.

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  • Beauty
    • Jamila likes princess.
    • Beauty is Jamila’s passion. Her drawings was inspired by women with long hair like Rapunzel from Disney.

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  • Cooking and baking
    • Pots and teacups represent Jamila’s passion for cooking.

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  • Fashion and modelling
    • When Jamila is happy, she is most likely to draw random fashion designs.
    • This drawing reflects Jamila’s interest in fashion and modelling.

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  • Dancing
    • Jamila likes to draw dancers.

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  • Flowers
    • Jamila likes to draw flowers from her garden.

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Travelling and having weekend outings with her mother and younger sister (Three Ladies)

  • Jamila loves travelling. Most of her travels during her childhood are with her mother and her younger sister. “THREE LADIES” was inspired by those memories.

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  • Dance concert at primary school
    • Jamila documents her precious memories on the dances in the school concert at the age of 8 years old.

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  • Multiracial people at the primary school

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  • Group photo during group tour
    • Jamila’s interpretation of group photos taken during her travels.

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  • Visits to aquarium
    • An abstract piece of Jamila’s memories during her visit to an aquarium.

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  • Yearly class party at primary school
    • Jamila documents her precious memories on the yearly school class party at the age of 8 years old.

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  • Schoolmates
    • Jamila’s schoolmates in her eyes.

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  • Family Activities
    • Jamila’s memories of family activities.

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