Back in early 2015, a street art programme was initiated by the Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) and many local artists, school children as well as university students started to show their talents in street art and mural paintings in and around the city.
DBKU commissioner Datuk Wee Hong Seng says it is continuing the initiative with an art project under the Old Kuching Smart Heritage (OKSHE) programme to document past histories in those heritage streets through murals.
“The project is themed ‘History On Wall’, with murals featuring old business ventures that were started in the (heritage) area. It also includes, at least, two or three generations who are still running their businesses on these old streets,” he says.
The recently launched OKSHE project entails maintaining Sarawak’s cultural heritage as a liveable, dynamic, beautiful, clean and safe city to live in.
DBKU is collaborating with a local mural artist Leonard Siaw, who has been doing brush murals since 2013 and then decided to turn it into his full-time job.
“The latest murals will be the Sampan-River Taxi that is located at the water fountain near the Kuching Waterfront,” says Siaw.
“My first mural that I did was a painting of fabric entrepreneurs at India Street, a business that has been pioneered by the Chinese and Malay communities since the early 1960s,” he adds.
He says when members of the public look at the murals, it will take them down memory lane and let them feel the transformation of those areas.
Some of Siaw’s murals are beautiful paintings showing the colourful diversity of Sarawak’s people and wildlife, among others, the orang utan painting at Singgahsana Lodge, and four children of different races sitting together at the Open Air Market as well as the tinsmiths at China Street.
However, Siaw is not the only street art artist who burns the midnight oil painting amazing murals around Kuching’s streets.
Others, such as the murals of Amy Amin and Sonia Luhong, can be seen around the Electra House building, Kuching Waterfront, India Street, Wayang Street, Carpenter Street, Main Bazaar Street and several eateries in Kuching that are accessible and look great in photos. — Bernama