Ruby Subramaniam (b. 1989) is a self-taught Malaysian visual artist.
In 2014, she quit her award-winning career in digital marketing to pursue her passion in arts. Her experience in corporate communications now allows her to utilize digital marketing and social media as a tool to increase community engagement about art. She works actively with diverse communities to run art-related projects and events, including Art Battle Malaysia. This event gives the audience a chance to participate actively, allowing them to exercise their ability to discuss and appreciate art. With her own artworks, she draws inspiration from traditional Malaysian narratives and culture. She is fascinated by the romanticised idea of ephemeral art.
I believe art is a prayer and it has to dissolve. The sooner it decays, the faster it lifts your burden.”
Because of that, she is never loyal to any one medium, and instead, enjoys the creative process of experimenting with unusual and unexpected artistic formats.
For the past two years, Ruby has worked on huge contemporary kolams (traditional Indian coloured rice art on the floor) installation in public spaces for Publika and RapidKL. “As a traditional art form, how do we revive it using the same method that has been used for centuries? How do we bring it alive again?”
In 2017, using skin as her canvas, her project, This Body is Mine was inspired by the Hindu Goddesses to combat street-harassment and the general Malaysian society’s attempt stigmatise women and police their bodies. As a result of the work, the project was uploaded to social media platforms and consequently went viral and reached more than 2 million views across the world. This project was exhibited in several group shows locally, and internationally in “Be Bold for Change”, Adam&Eve DDB, London as well as a case study in ARTS and SOCIETY (IYGU) by Mémoire de l’Avenir, Paris. More recently, it was presented in UNESCO’s World Humanities Conference in Liege, Belgium in 2017.
During the month of March 2018, her new project, ANTIDOTE in Rimbun Dahan, she invited women to be active participants in her projects, by sharing their relationship with their bodies. Without imposing her ideas and concepts onto her “canvas”, for thirty days, Ruby listened to thirty intimate stories by thirty diverse women and interpreted them with body art.