[ By Marie-Blaise Capo Chichi ]
On 20 April, 2015 at Lecture Theatre 22, under the initiative of the School of Architecture, Building and Design’s (SABD) Dean speaker series of Taylor’s University, the Dean of Taylor’s Law School, Mr Harmahinder Singh Iqbal Singh, delivered a speech that brought into question the sovereignty of the saying ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’.
And all with the beauty of his brush strokes, that spoke volumes without words.
Though he had no formal education in the arts, his love for it inspired, by his mother, kept him in touch with the artist inside. During the years leading to him becoming who he is now, the arts never left him. Be it art competitions in his early childhood or in his courtship days to woo his future wife, the paintbrush found its way back into his hands.
Years later, participation in an art competition led him to making his very first acrylic on canvas paintings, and after the competition, one of the paintings subsequently ended up decorating his office, where a good friend of his, Mr Tony Liew Voon Fun, Dean of the School of Architecture and organiser of the SABD Dean Speaker Series saw it and pushed him to rekindle his passion.
Mr. Singh’s art is sourced by his expectation in life encompassing believes, norms and practices. He believes in envisioning the end before anything else – in his university days as a law student he would envision the judgments he read in pictorial form, sketch it out if he could and most of all he would envision the just ending to the judgment. His ideal of justice, hope, and strongly set religious believes and his devotion to his family shone through in his speech and also his artworks. Quoting Garret Wilson, he linked life expectation to customary law, common law and written law respectively, expectation of life being the core of all laws, since it is the value that the law strives to preserve.
Mr. Singh lamented the fact ‘that people worship(ed) the ink’ forgetting the true meaning behind the law, which is fulfilling life expectations. Thus, his art works try to depict his expectations of life – which include his religious believes, the development of the law, family bond and the knowledge of the law.
In relation to his career in law Mr. Singh hopes to be able to incorporate the arts into the legal practice as a means to innovate and infuse creativity into it. He also hopes to use his art to make a statement in the field of law.
After Mr Singh’s talk, invited guest Mr Steven Thiru, President of Malaysian Bar Council, launched the exhibition of Mr. Singh’s artworks, after fervently encouraging him to infuse his art into the legal practice.
The following paintings not only shows Mr Singh’s talent but also his take on the arts.
In the words of a participant at the exhibition, Mr. Singh has proven to all that ‘Law can be married with art’. The Deputy Vice Chancellor of Taylor’s University, Dr Pradeep Nair, was so impressed that he offered Mr. Singh a wall in the University to paint on. Hopefully soon Mr. Singh’s work will become part and parcel of the University.