Johor artist takes being productive during MCO to new level with Covid-19-themed mural

Fakhrul Zaman Mohd Sambas took eight days to complete the Covid-19-themed mural at his home in Bandar Pulai Jaya in Skudai. — Picture courtesy of Fakhrul Zaman
Fakhrul Zaman Mohd Sambas took eight days to complete the Covid-19-themed mural at his home in Bandar Pulai Jaya in Skudai. — Picture courtesy of Fakhrul Zaman

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JOHOR BARU, April 12 — From getting fit to tackling that mothballed DIY project, there are many ways to make your time at home during the movement control order (MCO) as productive as possible.

If you are Johor-based artist Fakhrul Zaman Mohd Sambas, however, this has involved channelling your creativity into a mural that highlights the importance of adhering to the MCO during the current Covid-19 crisis.

Fakhrul Zaman took eight days, from March 23, to complete his 1,100 sq ft multi-coloured work of art entitled Origin of Covid-19 at his home in Bandar Pulai Jaya in Skudai, Iskandar Puteri.

The piece composed of emulsion paint charts the evolution of the deadly virus from its initial detection in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province in China, into a full-blown global emergency.

Fakhrul Zaman said, as a visual artist, he feels that he has a positive role to play and came up with the idea of communicating his message through a mural.

“All sorts of information and references in the form of facts, graphs, infographics, visuals and audio have flooded social media, electronic media and newspapers.

“This, in turn, inspired me to come up with the imagery that was later translated into the mural,” he said when contacted by Malay Mail.

Due to the MCO’s restrictions, Fakhrul Zaman said he could only use his side of the house wall, which is a corner lot, to paint the mural. 

“At the same time, I also had the material, equipment and paint at home to start my project, which basically cost about RM1,000,” he said. 

Fakhrul Zaman Mohd Sambas’ mural entitled ‘Origin of Covid-19’ has become a landmark for the residents of Bandar Pulai Jaya in Skudai. — Picture courtesy of Fakhrul Zaman
Fakhrul Zaman Mohd Sambas’ mural entitled ‘Origin of Covid-19’ has become a landmark for the residents of Bandar Pulai Jaya in Skudai. — Picture courtesy of Fakhrul Zaman

The 44-year-old visual artist and full-time art curator also pointed out the mural’s hashtags such as #JanganMacamSiamang and #DukRumah that are related to the restrictions under the MCO that was imposed nationwide on March 18.

The first hashtag refers to the hyperactive nature of the siamang, which is a large gibbon native to the forests of Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. The second reminds the public to stay at home. 

Fakhrul Zaman said that the announcement of the MCO saw a wide-ranging reception. 

“In fact, some people were stubborn and failed to adhere to the MCO. So, the hashtags used are satirical and humorous yet easy to understand,” he said. 

Fakhrul Zaman also explained that his mural pays tribute to the country’s frontliners. 

“Worldwide, the Covid-19 pandemic has been felt economically, politically and socially, including in Malaysia. 

“Part of the mural is dedicated to the country’s frontliners, as embodied by various brushstrokes and colours,” said Fakhrul Zaman.

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