The Allure of Ugliness

25th August 2023 Beena


Hello guys, it’s been some time since I penned my thoughts😊. I painted this Arowana from a picture Mr Chiam sent me. I struggled with the body of the Arowana, especially the scales, the fins and the tail. The best part is the face🫠. A friend pointed out how I could improve my technique in painting the scales.


Many asked me about this fish. I received comments like it is such an ugly fish, but it moves gracefully. That gives this fish an alluring mystery. It is in that we find the beauty of this fish. Many people here keep this fish in their homes for good luck. Beauty and ugliness coexist. Sometimes, it takes effort to differentiate that aspect. That is why there is a saying, ” Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”.


This is an Asian Arowana, hence that bluish hue. The more popular ones are gold, silver, and albino, as they denote wealth. The scales look like coins because of the shine on the body. It is a difficult fish to keep as pets and needs high maintenance. This particular Asian variety is considered extinct ( overfishing??)πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.


When I painted this fish, I needed to learn about its rich history. Hence, I learn with my painting the art and the story of what I paint. Thank you to everyone for always encouraging meπŸ™πŸ˜Š. I wish to add that I am like Arowana, a fearless artist😊.

6 thoughts on “The Allure of Ugliness

  1. My friend had a fish of this kind many years ago. She kept it in her beautiful aquarium for more than 10 years. In the year when we first experienced serious haze problem, a week before that, her fish tried to commit suicide. On the third day at night, after it’s first suicidal attempt, the fish managed to jump out from its β€œcage” and was found dead the next morning. We are still wondering what triggered the suicide. Could it be that it had sensed a danger change in the environment ? Is it like the flock of birds or animals fleeing before a natural disaster occur?

    1. Thank Teresa for sharing that experience. Animals have instinct on impending danger. But it must have been heart breaking for your friend. I remember that terrible haze, it was scary.

  2. Lovely painting and note beena. Beauty and ugliness are both two sides of the same coin / character, l understand.
    Diversity is the other name for existence …. I am going through different aspects of this dichotomy of existence everyday, particularly being aware of it as I age. Arowana reflects that too. Thanks beena for the insight and sharing.

    1. Thanks Shobha, there are some people who talk at length about social justice, but are quick to insult others by calling them names. As a young person it is hard to comprehend the reason for such hateful unwanted remarks. It stays in your psyche forever. The beast within the beauty:(:(

  3. Thanks for sharing your art and thoughts, Beena. I in fact find the Arowana very pretty, and your rendition even more so. I had never seen the Arowana before so my first impression is absolutely instinctive. The fact that it’s considered lucky makes it more attractive πŸ˜„

    1. Thanks Meghana for finding my Arowana pretty. Yes, this fish has lots of mystery and is often associated with luck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 1 GB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here


Sign up for our newsletter and stay up to date