Art Detail | Ilham Gallery
Routine #2
Routine #2

In Routine #2, we see the artist working on a painting in her studio while her infant daughter sits on a stepladder next to her. Since giving birth to her daughter in 2018, motherhood has become an important theme in Fadilah’s work, especially the eternal struggle to balance motherhood with a career. The painting is captured from the side, with Fadilah’s back to the viewer. Her pose seems casual and slightly uncertain as she paints a straight yellow line down the canvas. Interestingly, such lines only appear within Fadilah’s paintings-within-paintings; the painting she is making in Routine #2 is unlike the more realistic style of her overall practice. The bright yellow line suggests the stringent nature of domestic routine and monotony, and the struggle to balance these responsibilities with her more expressive and emotive nature as an artist.

Oil on canvas
152 × 122 cm
Credit Line:
Collection of ILHAM Foundation
© Fadilah Karim
About Fadilah Karim

Fadilah Karim (b. 1987, Johor) is a painter known for a realistic style of figurative painting and a palette of muted, earthy tones. Her works are often personal and intimate, externalising her thoughts and feelings with a whimsical air. Various prominent figures in the local arts and culture industry have featured as sitters in her paintings. Fadilah received her art education from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UiTM) and was mentored by the figurative painter Amron Omar for two months in 2019. She is a frequent presence in regional art fairs, having shown at Art Basel Hong Kong, Art Busan, and Art Jakarta. In 2020, Segaris Art Centre held a survey of her practice at White Box, MAPKL @ Publika, Kuala Lumpur.

Further Readings

Learning Section

  • Describe the figures in the painting. How are they dressed? What are they doing? What is their relationship with each other?

  • Is it harder for a woman to become a famous artist? Is the artworld any different than any other industry? What are the challenges that women face? Are there particular challenges for women who are mothers? Does it matter if we have less female artists than male artists? What could be done to improve the representation of women in the art world?

  • Do you think this painting was painted from a photograph? What makes you think that? If it is based on a photograph, why did the artist make a copy in paint? Why did she not just exhibit the photograph? Do you think she has changed anything when she created the painting?