Street artist complains about security harassment

Sketching enthusiasts from KLsketchnation were prohibited from drawing some of KL's iconic landmarks. — Instagram/KLsketchnation
Sketching enthusiasts from KLsketchnation were prohibited from drawing some of KL's iconic landmarks. — Instagram/KLsketchnation

PETALING JAYA, Aug 13 — KLsketchnation artist Ahmad Haryth Ahmad Hilmy expressed disappointment after security personnel in Bukit Bintang prevented him from sketching shopping malls there.

Yesterday, Haryth and his KLsketchnation team comprising sketching enthusiasts planned to draw the exterior of the Lot 10 shopping complex in Bukit Bintang, but were stopped by security staff.

 

 

40th sketchwalk with @klsketchnation today. So for the past 39 sketchwalks, we had some experiences on getting denied entry, getting dismissed because of no permission, and also being questioned just because we are doing something unusual - sketching in public. Today was one of those days. And also one of the most ridiculous, I would say. So we were scattered all over Bukit Bintang to sketch. Some of us ordered drinks at Starbucks and sit there to sketch outside of Lot 10 when a security guard and the manager (I’m not sure if they came at the same time) came to tell us that we can’t sketch the building. Mind you that we haven’t even really gathered and that was a PUBLIC space. We were just friends minding our own businesses. So apparently the reason being was the building design is protected by Intellectual Property so we can’t draw the building. And we can’t take pictures as well, but selfies are permitted 😐 my brother argued for some time and finally when he asked ‘so what if we just continue sketching? What action will you guys take?’ The manager just answered ‘oh we can’t really do anything’ 🤷🏻 ♂️ so yea we continued anyway lol Then I thought: ok fine, so I won’t sketch the Lot 10 building. I will just mind my own business, get a spot to stand and sketch the BB junction. Even then, I noticed that I was monitored VERY closely by a security guard behind me all the time, like I was about to rob a bank or something. I have travelled and sketched in many parts of the world, but only in Malaysia it makes me feel like a criminal. I believe that we shouldn’t feel like this being in a public area, doing what we love (as long as it’s legal) in our OWN country. And no, this won’t stop me from sketching. #malaysiabaharu #sketchingisnotacrime #klsketchnation

A post shared by Ahmad Haryth Ahmad Hilmy (@harythilmy) on

He took to his social media accounts yesterday to express his grievances on the matter.

Haryth said the team was approached by a security guard and building manager who warned them against sketching by claiming this would infringe on the buidling’s intellectual property.

The artists relented and left to sketch the nearby BB junction instead, where they were also monitored by security personnel.

“I noticed that I was monitored VERY closely by a security guard behind me all the time, like I was about to rob a bank or something.”

“I have travelled and sketched in many parts of the world, but only in Malaysia it makes me feel like a criminal. I believe that we shouldn’t feel like this being in a public area, doing what we love (as long as it’s legal) in our OWN country.”

“And no, this won’t stop me from sketching,” he asserted.

Haryth ended his post with #malaysiabaharu and #sketchingisnotacrime, as if hoping for a change in the public perception towards street sketching in a free and democratic country.

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