Friday, July 2, 2021

Kuala Lumpur & Klang Valley Street Art

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Kuala Lumpur & Klang Valley Street Art
Malaysia - June 2021
The street art scene in Kuala Lumpur, and also the Klang Valley is growing and going places.  Fueled by Penang's impetus, the street art scene here kicked off with some individual pieces at the Pudu area. Now, with the support of paint companies, it has grown and stretched to areas like Shah Alam & Klang too!

For ease of reference and orientation, here's a Google map that shows the locations of the street art in Kuala Lumpur & the Klang Valley.
(Click here for a link to this map)

1. KUALA LUMPUR RIVER OF LIFE STREET ART
These street art are oddly drawn onto the side walls of the huge storm-water monsoon drains, at the section that stretched from KL's Masjid Jamek up till just after the Old Kuala Lumpur Trains Station (
between Sultan Abdul Samad Building and the KL-Klang Bus Terminal.)
The place has been revamped and is now part of the River of Life project, a project to clean up and beautify the Klang River. So most of these murals are not there anymore.
But before it was revamped, we used to cycle along the lower banks of the storm drain!

It was most fortunate that we DID cycle there several times and I was thus able to take photos of those wall murals and preserve them in the following three blogs:
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2. KUALA LUMPUR AKLEH  STREET ART
Those storm-water drain street art at the River of Life section may be gone; but fortunately new & better ones have cropped up further upstream of the Klang River, at a section that runs below the AKLEH (Ampang-Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway). This are along both walls of of the storm-water drains between the Damai LRT Station and heading towards the Datuk Keramat LRT Station. Access is through ramps near to each of the station; but for the more adventurous, they can try going in through a small manhole opposite the Datuk Keramat Mosque. Click here for directions to the access manhole.

Below are blogs of these murals, which lined both walls of the monsoon storm-drains, and also some of the huge columns holding up the elevated highway. Click on respective photos to view each blog:
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3. KWAI CHAI HONG STREET ART @ PETALING STREET
Down in KL's Chinatown, tucked to one corner of Petaling StreetKWAI CHAI HONG has a different approach towards street art, it brings history to the present. The murals here are pleasantly done, and in colours that depict and old touch. These are drawn onto to wall at a side and back lane of this vicinity and often show scenes from a colourful past of the area: one with colonial shop-houses .....

..... and its equally colourful denizens, such as this Chinese charm writer; these calligraphers will write charms (based on a person's birth date and time) onto red papers, which are then burnt at the respective place to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. Often these charm writers are also letter writers to early immigrants, many of whom are illiterate.

To one side, from a French balcony a woman, with her hair in curlers and a cigarette sticking out prominently from her lips, looks down to the scene below.
Hey! She looks familiar! Yes, she's is the rough-ish land-lady played by veteran actress Qiu Yuen in the Stephen Chow's movie Kungfu Hustle.
Above her is a painting of a Shanghainese Shuyan lady, with typical hair-do from the early 1900s. These ladies in colourful cheong-sams are often featured on the cover of boxes selling Chinese talcum and facial creams.
(Click here for directions to Kwai Chai Hong)

Read more of these "historically" motivated murals at this link below:
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4. JALAN ALUR STREET ART
Jalan Alor in Kuala Lumpur is a magnet for tourists looking for respectable Malaysian street food, some good restaurants too. Because of this, it is a hive of activity at night. Lately, another element has been has cropped up to to the colour & gaiety of the place - Street Art. These murals painted onto the back & side walls of the shop-houses here. They are not located at Jalan Alor itself, but at the alleys parallel to Jalan Berangan at the far northern end of Jalan Alor. Let's have a look at some of them. The one above is at a back alley, span four stories high and through several blocks with the murals showing blue skies with dragon flies. 

There are two main section of the murals at this locality; one is at an area called Jalan Alor KL Street Art 1 Lanethat runs in at the side-lanes & back alleys between Changkat Bukit Bintang and Jalan Berangan, with some protruding out with stepped side lanes leading towards these roads. Above is the murals on the walls (and sometimes even on the floor) of the back alley.

Round the corner another back alley has Koi pond murals on the floor and cloud like lights. Together, these should add to an interesting atmosphere!

Do spend some time to admire the murals here which are rather well painted - many of them are on the colourful wild-life of Malaysia such as birds, monkeys and also the butterfly above,etc.

Slightly away, off Tengkat Tong Shin, is the Jalan Alor KL Street Art 2 Lane at Jalan Rembia. Here it's a slightly different theme, with this huge, attractive Hibiscus floor mural. T
he Hibiscus; locally called the Bunga Raya. is the national flower of Malaysia.

The walls here are painted yellow, with some sections painted to simulated broken patches with exposed red bricks. A tree is painted to connect to a real life wall creeper and black cats playfully jump to catch a blue bird.

A photo of another tree; the lane is just called Jalan Belakang (which means back lane in Bahasa Malaysia).

Other than the above, dotting some spots at other streets of the vicinity are more street art, click on link below to view these:
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5. BATU STREET ART

COMING SOON, STAY TUNED!
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6. SHAH ALAM LAMAN SENI 2 STREET ART
Shah Alam is a purpose-planned city to take over as the capital of Selangor after it's former capital Kuala Lumpur was declared a national territory. Being a pre-planned city, it is modern, well structured with many nice parks, and iconic buildings such as the renown blue-domed state mosque - the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque, as can be seen in the mural above.
However, many planned cities in the world are seen as too conforming, too structured in physical design and community planning; too disciplined to allow the resident's to open up their creativity. It is then with some surprise that I saw street art in Shah Alam while on a cycling jaunt with some buddies in this city in 2014. These are the street art seen at the side & back lanes of Section 2 of the city, at a place called Laman Seni 2.

Very colourful pastel style, reminds me of Inca style paintings.

Interestingly, some of the artwork are 3-D; like this classroom that seems awkwardly but cooling hanging vertically on a wall. We tried to pose "sitting" on one of the chairs but it wasn't possible 😁.

But we did have some fun, posing cycling along with a mural of this mini-bus.
The Kuala Lumpur Mini-Bus Service or Bas Mini had served in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley region. The mini bus, with a capacity of 20-30 passengers, operated on various routes according to the route numbers and were easily identified by their individual route colours. The mini-bus service started operating on September 1975 and was discontinued from July 1998 onwards, to be replaced by the Intrakota bus service and later, RapidKL buses in 2005.

Click on photo below to view more of the street art at Laman Seni 2:
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7. SHAH ALAM LAMAN SENI 7 STREET ART
Following the popularity of the murals at Section 2 of Shah Alam; at another spot not to far away in Section 7 of the city, street art also started popping up.

The art work here has several good photos on nature; the one above features an orangutan with it's baby in the jungle of Malaysia. A hornbill and Rafflesia Orchid can be seen in this mural too.

One of the murals reflects a sad page in Malaysian history - the disappearance of Flight MH370 of the Malaysian Airlines System (MAS). The jigsaw pieces reflects the puzzle of the plane's disappearance; to date it has never been found - and how & where it disappeared a mystery!
(Click here for directions to Shah Alam's Laman Seni 7)

Click on photo below to view more of the street art at Laman Seni 7:
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8. KLANG STREET ART
From the state capital we go further west heading nearer to the Straits of Malacca, onwards to the royal town of Klang. Here there's a relatively new Klang Art Street which is also known as the Laman Seni Safari Klang, as many of the murals depicts animal life; walking through this street is like going on a mini safari!

It all started with just ONE mural at the side wall of the Harekrishna Mens Choice fashion shop, started with this one above showing a mother African elephant and her calf.

And it's just not a land safari, several murals depict life in the sea, like this fierce looking, green moray eel! Others shows birds, giant crabs and oddly beautiful insects - an interesting mix of flora and fauna!

Midway along the lane are a couple of hearts for love-lorn couples to lock their love.

Somewhere at the centre, where the back-lane intersects a side lane, colourful wings have been painted at a corner. Standing there at the right angle, one would seem to have sprouted beautiful wings.

Other than the Laman Seni Safari Klang, there are several other spots with nice street art, but one that is NOT TO BE MISSED is the "Revive Klang River" mural, located at the wall below and supporting the Kota Bridge, a double decked bridge with a lower pedestrian deck.

This large mural depicts elements that traces the history of Klang, and also shows some of the notable places of Klang town.
(Click here for directions to Klang Art Street)

There should be some other street art dotting some other lanes here, will have to go mural hunting again soon. In the meantime, click on photo below to view more of the street art at Klang Art Street:
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