A Heartwork


“Hello Merlyna, I was overcome with emotion when I see the “A Broken Heart” […]. I had been through an incredibly dark journey. In my life, and I wouldn’t have made it without the incredible love and support from my wife and daughters. This picture captures my struggle, and the needle and thread is clearly my wife and children. I would be so incredibly grateful if you allowed me to purchase this from you, I don’t know if you sell signed copies. […] I can’t adequately express in words alone what this means to me, I was so incredibly moved….“

Someone emailed me a month ago.

I didn’t plan to sell signed copies during the exhibition, but this email caught me off guard. His message touched me so deeply; I couldn’t say no. It truly humbles me to know how meaningful the artwork is to this person — someone who just survived an open heart surgery weeks earlier.

The “Hands” project was personal. Each artwork was either based on deep personal observation or experiences. I can’t share much here, but suffice to say that this one was born out of a personal journey diving into (and overcoming) my own darkness.

So, here is a photo of a signed copy of my artwork (or, specially for him I called it “a heartwork”) taken at his office.

February is Heart Awareness Month. So it’s only appropriate to post this before the month of February ends.

#handsbook #februaryheartmonth

Mending (A Broken Heart)
Merlyna Lim, 2019
Graphite and digital pencils on paper
24 in x 18 in

Hands — opening of the exhibition

It was a lovely evening. I owe it to wonderful friends and colleagues who were in attendance. The reality is the whole exhibit and the opening would not happen without the help of people who are so dear to me — my partner and close friends.

Thanks to Kit Chokly and Sarah EK Smith who beautifully captured some scenes from the venue, I have a visual snippet of the evening. Beyond the photos in the link below, I savour the precious moment in its entirety in my mind and every bit of emotion associated with it in my heart.

I was humbled and touched by everybody’s appreciation, kindness, and love. It was absolutely a lovely evening. I can’t ask for more.


—- Private opening reception at Atrium Art Gallery in Ottawa, 15 January 2020.

Artist Interview

Back in October, I was interviewed by Lisa Takahashi from the Jackson’s Art. Not as a scholar, researcher, or professor, but as an artist. Below is an opening paragraph from the interview.

Merlyna Lim won the People’s Choice Award in our Urban Sketching Competition back in July. Her sketch of Cadiz was an ambitious composition – the city viewed from the Tavira Tower showing a multitude of different buildings, leading the eye off into the distance, using a dramatic sense of perspective to communicate the scale and energy of the city. The lines drawn in ink possess a fragile yet considered quality; a crispness that offers the perfect contrast to the washy splashes of delicate, luminous watercolour.

For a complete interview, click this link.