My father was an immigrant, as was my maternal grandfather. I grew up on my family's stories of war and hardship in their countries of origin. I've participated in numerous protests, often alongside immigrants, which inspired a series of paintings and drawings focusing on protests, as well as a series focusing on immigrant women. The series focusing on immigrant women included painting portraits of people in the process of applying for United States citizenship at an office of the International Rescue Committee.
For my series, Beachlife, I created paintings on the unselfconscious beach culture of Spain and Italy, as a way to address U.S. women's concerns about body size and image.
My work is not overtly political, instead focusing on the genuineness of individuals and human connection. Robert C. Morgan best encapsulates this in his catalog essay about my work:
"In Malayka's drawings, we sense a human volition on the part of her subjects to become accepted for who they are – not as statistics but as a people with the same concerns anyone would feel no matter what destiny they have been given."
My work is included in the City of Seattle Portable Works collection, the Port of Seattle (SeaTac airport) collection, and the City of Bellevue and the City of Kent (WA) collections. Recently, my work was in a two-person exhibition at the Blanden Memorial Art Museum (Iowa, 2019). I was awarded a public art contract in 2020 and 4Culture Art Projects Grant in 2017.