It's safe to say that Aniq Durar (@aniqdurar) has the magnetic presence fit for a stage to ensnare anyone's attention — and it's not just because of his roguish good looks, charming disposition or his magnificent mane (how does he get it looking so luscious?). Upon closer inspection, the 28-year old actor offers deep and oftentimes philosophical insights into his love for his craft with sage wisdom. Below, we spoke to Aniq on the beauty of storytelling, his colorful cultural identity and more.
What was your first foray into the creative scene?
Performance was always in the periphery, I did cultural dances as a kid (ngajat, alu-alu), and joined a musical when I was 17, which was very GLEE inspired. It was of the times and it was absolutely fun as a kid to be involved in these things. And I think that planted a seed in me which later would come to fruition in university with student theatre and later on in my career as a performer.
What is your personal philosophy in life and how does that reflect in your creative journey?
It is pretty simple, take one step at a time especially when wanting to achieve your goals in life. Sedikit-sedikit, lama-lama jadi bukit as people say. Don’t compare yourself to others, they have their own journeys and you have yours. And have faith in yourself and in your work. Other things will fall into place.
From dance to acting, we love how much of a multi-hyphenated creative you are. Can you share with us how you keep that spark of curiosity alive?
Take rest. You are allowed to take a step back from your work to replenish, eat, read a book, jog, or play with your cats. Taking in other experiences helps keep things fresh and you might see things with another light, or even pick up a new interest.
What has been your most significant project thus far and why?
That would be “A Fisherman’s Dream”, a theatre performance on the streets of Kuching in 2019, where I explored what it meant to be Melanau. It was also an ode to my late father. I worked on it with other creative people from the Melanau community.
The process of creation involved incorporating insights from my Yans (father and uncles), stories like my great grandmother who was an a-likou (pagan) who never liked rice, and aspects of performance art and Melanau movements. I had red lines stretching throughout my body to help visualise those movements. When I finally brought it together, it was such a joy to perform.
It was a very personal piece that helped me process issues and emotions about identity and race in Sarawak.
You come from a rich cultural heritage with mixed parentage including Melanau and Pashtun just to name a few! How has your cultural identity influenced and impacted your life?
Having a cultural identity that is akin to a mosaic of a stained-glass window can be often confusing, othering and it seems like it’s “flawed”, but as a whole it is the lens in which I see my life; multicultural, multicoloured, beautiful. And by shedding a light on this window of mine, I get to highlight people who are mosaics just like me.
What's one thing people might be surprised to know about you?
I collect packaging, like boxes, cans, bottles, and tins and treat it like art. Because it is to me. Sometimes I would buy a product, just for the packaging itself. I have a collection of random paraphernalia, here in KL and in my hometown Kuching.
We've done some digging around and found out that you won Best Presentation on racial discrimination in college, our belated congratulations! Do you plan to explore more social issues through your creative works?
If I were to explore more, it would be through the lens of a Sarawakian in Malaysia’s narrative. I was part of ‘Malam Sayu’' at KLPAC last year, and the theme was “Wawasan 2020” and I highlighted the Sarawakian narrative, both personal and collective, showing the anger, frustration, and beauty of it all.
Who are your creative muses and why?
One is definitely Kimbra. As an artist and singer, she constantly challenges herself, constantly evolving. I love that about her. And she inspires me to push in my own art.
You seem to have a maturity beyond your years. How has your journey as a creative shaped your perception of the world around you?
I wouldn't say that I'm that mature, I still make mistakes and I definitely have a lot of things left to learn. In terms of how art itself has shaped my perception of the world, I would say that despite the chaos we're all facing, there is still beauty. And if you are in a position to show beauty, show it.
Having a cultural identity that is akin to a mosaic of a stained-glass window can be often confusing, othering and it seems like it’s “flawed”, but as a whole it is the lens in which I see my life; multicultural, multicoloured, beautiful.
This can mean kindness, joy, or love. Heck, it doesn't even need to have meaning too, if you want paint a flower because it is beautiful, paint that flower! Life is beautiful if you make it so and if you share that beauty with people around you, you can lift them up too.
What are your goals for 2021?
Personally, my goal is just to be a better me; kinder, more loving, more accepting of myself. The key is baby steps, taking it one day at a time.
Lastly, please list your 3 local creative crushes and their IG handles for us to shoutout!
Iona Danald (iona.danald)
Bethany Luhong Balan (bee.balan)
Ashly Nandong (ashly_nandong)