After three years, a familiar Russian street artist to Malaysians made a return to Penang and began her new project on Oct 5 at one of the Batu Lanchang flats beside the iconic wet market there.

Julia Volchkova, 30, said that she welcomes everyone to witness her artwork in progress, which was expected to be completed within a week.

“What I love about Penang is how diverse the people are, especially with their rich and unique cultures, which gave me a lot of inspiration in making art. Also, I love the people here because they are very friendly and supportive towards me and my art,” she said.

Volchkova, who hails from Siberia, said that this will be her ninth mural in Penang – four located in Balik Pulau while the rest can be found in the urban areas of George Town.

Last year, George Town joined other famous street art capitals of the world to make it into the Lonely Planet book Street Art.

The Street Art book, which covers 42 cities around the world, listed George Town as its only Asian destination, with Volchkova’s mural Indian Boatman recognised as one of the street art picks in Penang.

Her new mural is based on a heartfelt story of a family in Penang.

She said that the roughly 6m x 10m wall surface will depict the 87-year-old grandmother and the two-year-old daughter of William Oon Yeow Loon, 35, who collapsed from a stroke and was left half-paralysed since October last year.

Julia

The mural inspired by William Oon and family on the side wall of the Penang Island City Council (MPPP) flat.

Oon, who used to work as a chef, was the sole breadwinner for his family of six. His family did not have a fixed income and could only rely on handouts and donations due to his current condition.

“I have met them (Oon’s family) to get to know more about their background, and I want my artwork to deliver a message about the touching stories of the people here. My purpose of creating street art is to build connections among the people around the world and tell them to be kinder, more open-hearted and helpful to each other,” said Volchkova.

The idea was mooted by Batu Lanchang state assemblyman Ong Ah Teong, who had visited Oon’s family at Jalan Slim, in May this year. – Bernama