Ever felt like you’re trapped in a situation where you’re unable to express yourself to a point where you feel like you’ve lost your purpose? As American actress and playwright, Tina Lifford once said, “When you know yourself, you are empowered. When you accept yourself, you are invincible.” And that’s exactly how Ruby Subramaniam ended up finding her true calling.
Throughout her growing-up years, she remembers being constantly reprimanded for using crayons to draw on the walls of her grandmother’s house, and when she joined colouring competitions, her teachers told her that she’d be disqualified if she continued using unrealistic bold colours.
Not giving much thought about the talent she had in hand, Ruby treated drawing and painting as a hobby, but had to abandon her favourite pastime at the age of 16 when her mum fell ill. “I lost my mum at the age of 21 and had to deal with a lot of hidden emotions. I pursued a career in digital marketing but it only lasted till I was 24, after which I turned back to art to seek comfort. I almost felt like I needed a crisis to happen in order for me to go back to my true calling,” she says.
This time around, Ruby had the privilege to do it her way and the freedom to bring out the trapped artist in her made her feel alive again. “Painting helped me find myself and I’m proud to say that I was given the chance to display my artwork at exhibitions in Belgium, Brazil, Malaysia and the UK,” she shares.
One of her career highlights is the Antidote-Uncovering Skin and Soul project that she started in 2017. “I invited 30 women to tell me their stories and in return, I’d paint on their bodies. More than 50 women signed up! I was amazed at how many women out there wanted to just open up and release the burden in them. They needed a platform where someone would listen to them without judging them. It made me realise how much of a difference I can make as an artist and how therapeutic art can be,” she explains.
Ruby discloses that in the next one year, she’ll be running a campaign on abortion and the true meaning of being pro-choice. She’ll also be curating her own art exhibition called Banana Leaf – A Little Bit of Everything that highlights social issues within the Indian community.
To find out more about our 45 #MYSUPERFEMALES, click here!