Kide Baharudin brings life to Malaysian history and culture through art

An artwork done by Kide Baharudin depicting life in Kuala Pilah. – Pictures by Choo Choy May
An artwork done by Kide Baharudin depicting life in Kuala Pilah. – Pictures by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 — In Malaysia, a lot of artists actually go unnoticed, and sometimes their talents go to waste because of the lack of proper nurturing. With Dumpster, a movement started by Mohd Romaizie Mustapha (also known as Rom), more of these “undiscovered” talents will fluorish.

One of Rom’s discoveries is 25-year-old Mohamad Khiddir Mohd Baharudin (known popularly as Kide Baharudin) who hails from Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan. The young man is popular with art lovers who frequent Dumpster, mainly for his works of traditional Malay dance, the laid-back kampung life in Kuala Pilah during the 1960s and 1970s as well as processions from yesteryears.

“I’m very thankful that Rom found me through Facebook. He saw something in me before he started Dumpster. Before this, I had a different style of art which was more dark, rich and fantasy-based. Rom told me he liked my watercolour art better which has a pop look to it,” said Kide. He recently bought a watercolour set after working with Dumpster to come up with some digital print art.

He still lives in Kuala Pilah and often travels to Dumpster’s office in Publika via public transport to liaise with Rom on upcoming art ideas. Working for Dumpster is now his full-time job. After he graduated from Universiti Teknologi MARA in Kuala Terengganu with a degree in art and design, Kide got involved with his family’s bee farm business, where he did their branding, logo and other design-related work.

One of his first works at Dumpster was to draw a series of Malaysian traditional dances such as kuda kepang and zapin. The designs are available in T-shirts, tote bags and art print. Kide also captured KL city life with a series called Rasa Sayang Kuala Lumpur where he drew street hawkers, the city skyline and bustling life digitally. In his latest series, Kide depicts historical processions where he highlights their multi-cultural elements.

Kide Baharudin resides in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan and he is often inspired by the kampung life there
Kide Baharudin resides in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan and he is often inspired by the kampung life there

“The current and upcoming projects I’m working on are painting on canvas using acrylic and Chinese ink,” said Kide. He already did two, one called Pasar Rabu and another called Pokan Pilah. Most of his works are based on his parents’ kampung life back in the 1960s and 1970s and rendered in vivid beautiful colours. With almost cartoon-like features and usually a crowded canvas, Kide describes his new style as a cross between cartoon, comic, contra and pop colour.

Kide does a lot of research before drawing by watching old Malay films by film legend Tan Sri P. Ramlee, borrowing his parents’ collection of old photographs as well as referring to history books. He also does research online, following different types of unknown artists, more specifically street artists whom he identifies with. Kide also gets his mother to write notes based on her memory of the past to help him in his artwork.

“I follow a number of illustrators from all over the world. I like the Caribbean style and I also follow Spanish style, like the Madrid style. To me, I would call it the ‘naive style’,” said Kide.
Familiar with print art and digital art, painting on canvas is something relatively new for Kide. He recently finished two paintings on canvas and he spent three days on each. Currently, his work in progress is a 4 x 3 square feet painting on canvas, also based on kampung life.

Rom always brainstorms with his artists about what they are going to do next. Content is very important to Dumpster as they want to preserve the history of Malaysia through art. “Before Dumpster, there was no platform for me to do art. I decided why not, just try it out. We are focused more on cultural content. Usually we get Rom’s approval before we start on something. Through Dumpster, people can see my work,” said Kide.

It’s been an adventure for Kide with his involvement in Dumpster. He recalls his first event with Rom, which was the Hari Belia in Putrajaya where they set up a booth with their framed artwork and conducted an impromptu workshop to teach kids how to draw. Students from as far as Pahang attended the event. The two-day event was before Dumpster’s opening and it was very tiring, recalled Kide. On the way back from the event, their car broke down and they didn’t have enough sleep. They came back and opened Dumpster the next day.

Next up for Dumpster is solo exhibitions for all the in-house artists. There will be art installations, print art, painting on canvas and it will highlight each of their works. “The style of art that Rom wants usually changes from time to time. We always get new ideas off each other on what to do,” said Kide. The solo exhibitions are due next year. In the future, Rom also hopes to have a home studio where all the artists can live and also come together to share new ideas.

Sketching and relying on his mother’s notes help Kide Baharudin get a good idea of what to do next
Sketching and relying on his mother’s notes help Kide Baharudin get a good idea of what to do next

“I would say that my style is very spontaneous,” said Kide. The artist enjoys both digital and painting on canvas. “I like the quality of canvas as well as the texture. For digital, I like it because I can finish an artwork faster. For paintings, you need to have the mood,” he said.

For the solo art exhibition, Rom gave Kide an old letter box to work with. They haven’t really discussed what to do with it yet. For Kide’s solo exhibition, expect to see 20 paintings. “I’m getting used to painting but maybe not bigger sizes yet. For bigger ones, you need a different approach, you have to think of composition and brush strokes. Maybe next time, I can work on murals,” said Kide.

Kide prefers to use Adobe Photoshop rather than Adobe Illustrator for his digital print art because he feels that Photoshop has more brushes. As his passion is drawing, he brings his sketch journal everywhere so he can sketch while sitting on the bus or LRT. He truly enjoys living in his kampung and he incorporates the scenes into the paintings. “Kita masih guna gula dari enau, nasi juga dari padi dan kanak-kanak masih mandi sungai (We still make sugar out of palm sugar trees, rice from paddy fields and the children still bathe in the stream)” said Kide.

Kide Baharudin is a name to watch out for. Recently, he was commissioned by a company to create some art in Melbourne. The trip was sponsored fully and it was his first time overseas. “I was really excited for this opportunity!” said Kide.

For more information about Kide Baharudin, check out his work at

Dumpster

Lot 53, Level G2, Art Row, Publika, Solaris Dutamas, Jalan Dutamas 1, 50480 Kuala Lumpur

or follow him on social media

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kide.baharudin

Instagram: www.instagram.com/kidebaharudin

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