Written by @Lan
Street art is artist’s interpretation towards the local’s way of life, culture and historical moments. At times, it is about political satire, with some incorporating humor elements while some presented it in sarcastic way. Regardless of intentions, Street Art itself has different kind of terms, from graffiti artwork to street poster art. When it comes to appreciating the ‘values’ of such Street Art, people in Malaysia are blessed to have cities and towns that are full of interesting, realistic art in different scales. Here are 10 places to see Street Art in Malaysia.
1-Seremban, Negeri Sembilan
It’s not a big town so it is easy to navigate yourself to ‘track’ all that colorful and amazing pieces of art, on some building’s wall along Jalan Tunku Hassan. Street Art with themes such as ‘The Bread Man’, ‘Upeh’, ‘Plate Dance’, ‘Lion Dance’, ‘Swing’, ‘Festival of Lights’, ‘Floating Lantern’, ‘Butterfly Catcher’ and ‘Cendol Stall’, depicts the Malaysian thoughts and culture. Most importantly, they are all in good condition and that makes Seremban as among the best places to see street art in Malaysia.
Wharf Laborer (Coolie)
Interestingly, Sibu in Sarawak has become one of the best places in Malaysia to see some mural paintings which commemorate the story of the town’s culture, heritage and lifestyle. The Street Art Festival held annually adds colors to the already amazing murals. Local Artists are given the opportunity to present their creative ideas showcasing subjects from history to famous foods of Sibu. Creating such murals needs creativity and high quality tools, undeniably from the most famous graffiti shop. The Wharf Laborer for example not only successfully illustrates the early days of Sibu in 1950s and 1960s periods (where coolies were seen carrying and loading goods to and from express boats) but it’s created in such an artistic way.
3-George Town, Penang
Kids on Bicycle
Be prepared (mentally and physically) to locate all wall murals by Ernest Zacharevic for Mirrors George Town and by visiting foreign artists invited by Urban exchange. In addition, there are 52 steel-rod sculptures along the Muntri Street Lane and Armenian Street. The murals and steel-rod sculptures explain the history of places and the people who worked and lived there. They all carry the theme ‘Voices of People’, retelling the history of each part of George Town in the way that the locals would; with their own peculiar brand of wit, humor and language. It is one big city and one will need the whole day or two to locate each of 15 murals and unbelievable 52 steel-rod sculptures! That alone qualifies this city as one of the best places to see street art in Malaysia.
In Ipoh city, there are two kinds of Mural; one is by Ernest Zacharevic (Old town section) and bunch of new paintings that were created by other artists (Old and New Town Sections). The murals in Ipoh’s Old Town depict the souls of locals, historically speaking; it shows their heritage and culture. The Evolution mural for example shows Ipoh’s evolution from a tin-mining town back in the colonial days.
From Pasar Seni to Jalan Imbi and even in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur City is indeed one of the best places in Malaysia to see some impressive street art. There is even a Street Art Tour for those who need someone to guide them to locate a quarter, if not all of those beautiful colored murals. In short, street art in Kuala Lumpur is endless; it’s everywhere thus making this city as one of the best places in Malaysia to see some amazing street art.
With murals along the river, to murals named as ‘Ladies in Costume’, ‘Girl Looking Up’, ‘Freedom of Speech’, Interactive Murals Lane and many more, Malacca city is indeed catching up with other cities and towns across Malaysia, in becoming one of the best 10 places to see impressive street art. Hop on the river cruise or simply walk along both sides of river to locate each street art and the older town of Jonker Street certainly has more artworks.
Not known to many, Johor Bahru does have some impressive street art. One of that many murals is named as ‘Kita Jaga Sama-Sama’, created by Taib Aur and Jefri Abdul. It is located at the corner of Jalan Ibrahim and Jalan Trus. The mural represents the National and Johor flags. It is a mural that depicts Malaysian’s patriotism. Along with many other murals that were created in conjunction with the 2015 National and Malaysia Day celebrations, the city has become as one of the best 10 places to see street art in Malaysia.
8-Laman Seni 7, Shah Alam Selangor
Head to Laman Seni 7 at Shah Alam and discover impressive street art by a group of young artists with hopes to turn the back alleys of shop houses into public art galleries. There are quite a number of impressive 3D paintings, 3D installations and paintings-on-site!
9-Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Though there are not so many murals in Kota Kinabalu in comparison to cities such as Penang, Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur, this city is becoming one of the best places to street art in Malaysia. The city has some giant murals and one of the famous murals is located on the wall of Wisma Intiutama. The BAH word is not only a particle in the local’s dialect but also stands for B– Bagi-Bagi (Spirit of Sharing), A– Art and H– represents Sabah Heritage.
10-Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu
Many of the walls and alleys especially in Chinatown Kuala Terengganu have been transformed into beautiful and creative street art thus giving photo opportunities to visitors. The beautification program successfully managed the problem of unsightly back lanes, making them more attractive, eye-catching; for tourists to appreciate the meaning and beauty of each mural. In one specific mural at Lorong Kenangan Payang, umbrellas are hanging above, adding colors to the place while signifying the meaning of unity.
Street Art’s Artists express their emotions, feelings and thoughts through their work. In one of the most impressive murals by Ernest Zacharevic (located in Kuala Lumpur), there’s a chopped mini school bus that portrays a bold theme ‘Rage Against the Machine’. The interpretation varies. Admirers are free to interpret the meaning of each mural. On another note, artists that create street art are amazingly creative, gifted and talented. To create such amazing street art, an artist needs the right tools. Such artists get their graff-related supplies from the most famous graffiti shop. Great supplies help them to create beautiful and meaningful street art as seen in 10 places across Malaysia, as mentioned in this article.