KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27 — “Everyone can make a mural, it’s just how to get the standard so that our work becomes the talk of town and made viral on social media,” said Ruhizad Mohd Ali, 58, the ‘backbone’ and leader of the group that is responsible for painting the murals under the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) project.

The mural paintings are normally drawn at abandoned locations or spots to transform the place into beautiful and exciting places and become places of attractions for visitors in the federal capital.Several cyclists are seen passing through Jalan Alor mural lane, December 13, 2020. — Bernama pic
Several cyclists are seen passing through Jalan Alor mural lane, December 13, 2020. — Bernama pic

Among the mural works produced by E&M Services are at the Medan Pasar area, River of Life at Masjid Jamek, Jalan Alor in Bukit Bintang, Bukit Nanas walkway in Jalan Ampang and the latest ones are the ‘feeder pillars’ (power) owned by DBKL.

These locations, which feature street artworks are the latest attraction for those who like to take selfies or capture memories to be shared on social media.

“We are overwhelmed with the positive remarks on our murals, which are colourful and cheerful, making the people to feel safer when walking there.

“An example is the mural on Jalan Alor Bukit Bintang. It used to be a black area, besides being dirty and smelly. It was scary to walk there before,” he told Bernama.

Ruhizad, who has been in creative arts for almost 30 years, said that it takes creativity and to think outside the box to produce a unique work.

“It is a huge art project and could not be done alone. So, I took some experienced young people to realise the project together.

“We help DBKL translate their objectives to colour selected lanes and buildings in Kuala Lumpur. Alhamdulillah, after seeing the results, DBKL is satisfied,” he said.

Zaimuddin Aziz, 30, one of Ruhizad’s mural painters, regarded the project by DBKL as a golden opportunity for young people to show off their creativity and talent.

“It is a good platform for mural painters to get early exposure and gain knowledge from experienced mural artists.

“Actually, there are many potential artists in the country, but they are not given the space and opportunity,” he added.

Zaimuddin, who has been a full-time artist since 2015, believed that this field of art could go further because the street art industry is gaining place in the community.

“In this field, we need to be smart. In fact, it has many branches and can be expanded according to their creativity,” said the graduate of Fine Arts from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).

Meanwhile, founder of Bumblebee Consultancy, Christine Ngh, said public art installation helps various parties to collaborate and create meaningful projects.

She said the company had been working with DBKL for the past few years to identify buildings at high profile places in the centre of Kuala Lumpur such as Bukit Bintang, Petaling Street and Asian Heritage Row in need of facelift

“Once a good location is identified, we will start to find out which artist, art schools and corporate partners suitable and willing to work on the project.

“At the same time, DBKL will engage other stakeholders such as building owners, local residence representative, local authorities, key departments within DBKL (for clean up, maintenance, health inspection),” she added.

She said the key goal is to make the project successful with all parties sharing ownership, responsibilities and cost, and the project being lifted with a suitable and attractive artwork for the identified wall.

“I hope to continue to work with more public sectors to invite the private sector and artists to join in the effort to make Malaysia more trendy and interesting place for urban art lovers.

“It is also to put Malaysia on the map for being an artistic place. When more parties own the projects, it becomes more meaningful and the larger scale allows more projects to take place,” she added.

Among the projects of mural paintings produced by her company with DBKL and other stakeholders are Akid One: Street Artist & Muralist (Tun Razak Exchange), #MyKiehlsHeritage (L’Oreal and Fritildea), #ChowKitMural, OutcastArt Malaysia (Fox TV, EscapeVA) and KulSign Festival (Dulux Paint, AirAsia, Disney) — Bernama