Kuala Lumpur is bringing art to new heights – literally and figuratively – with the Art In The City initiative, a collaborative project between the Cultural Economy Development Agency (Cendana) and the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).
Art In The City throws together both legendary and emerging artists in a display of solidarity towards the Malaysian art landscape. If you are walking around Kuala Lumpur, take a look up and you might see a list of public artworks at iconic landmarks around the capital, such as National Art Gallery (NAG), Bursa Malaysia, the KL Citywalk and Lot 10.
The Art In City map contains 14 works spread throughout KL. Among the featured artists are Datuk Hoessein Enas (1924–1995), fondly known as the “Father of Malaysian Portrait Painting”, Datuk Ibrahim Hussein (1936-2009), Kok Yew Puah (1947-1999), Ahmad Sanuri Zulkefli, who presented a mural at the KL Biennale at NAG last year, Jing Chung, and a list of newcomers like Suzi Chua, Art:Tech, Syamsul Addeno, Tom Heri, Brindha Kumar, and Yaul Acap.
Each painting – and mural – speaks of its own unique art style, ranging from contemporary to figurative art.
For a hint of the familiar, Ibrahim’s abstract painting Genting from 1978 sits proudly at the top of NAG, while the selection of Hoessein’s mid-1960s and early 1970s portraits Dulang Washers and School Children underline his popularity among the masses.
Kok’s Camera View Of A Group Of Laughing School Children is another highlight, which can be viewed at the Permodalan Nasional building in downtown KL.
The Art In The City project, which started in January 2018, saw an open call to local artists to submit their works that would contribute towards highlighting Kuala Lumpur’s skyline. Over 1,000 pieces were received, before the list was narrowed down to 30 works by a panel of art academics and art experts. The shortlisted works were then given to the public to vote on.
The chosen artworks will be displayed across the city for up to six months.
Aside from the main works located on and within their respective buildings, Art In The City will also host standalone digital billboards, showcasing pieces such as Jing Chung’s Malaysia and Natasha Iman’s Kueh.
There will also be monthly traditional performing arts shows (a collaboration between traditional arts organisation Pusaka and Cendana) in Medan Pasar, KL, and Shift, a pop-up visual arts fair at Rumah Tangsi, in the first quarter of 2019, as well as a further campaigns and activities (with DBKL) to beautify the city streets with murals and graffiti.
Art In The City aims to encourage the public to visit art galleries and museums in KL.
Further information on the complete list of hosted works of art, can be found at www.cendana.com.my.