AFTER one and a half months, Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic has finally completed the seven murals around Ipoh Old Town.
The seven artworks were no secret but Zacharevic has kept it to himself since day one of the “Art of OldTown” project in May, commissioned by OldTown White Coffee and he had worked day and night to complete it.
Finally opening up on the project, Zacharevic said he was proud and happy to be able to paint in Ipoh.
“It is exciting to be here. I’ve been inspired to paint here since my first visit here and have dreamt of leaving my mark here.
“I was happy that OldTown invited me to bring my art to the city,” he said during the launch of the project in Ipoh on recently.
The seven murals, which were Hummingbird, Old Uncle with White Coffee, Paper Plane, Girl with Stool and Birdcage, Kopi-O, Trishaw and Evolution, could be found along Jalan Panglima, Market Street, Jalan Bijeh Timah, Concubine Lane 3, Jalan Tun Sambathan and Jalan Padang.
The launch also saw the unveiling of a custom map of Ipoh Old Town, detailing all seven murals that would be framed permanently at OldTown White Coffee’s outlet near Ipoh Padang.
On his seven murals, Zacharevic said each was inspired by his journey throughout the country.
“The inspirations come from the people I meet and from the stories I hear from them,” he said.
“I try to keep each art piece unique, which also tells about the heritage and history of the city,” he added.
A self-confessed coffee addict, Zacharevic said he loved all kinds of coffee.
“Ever since I came to Malaysia, I have been to many coffeeshops and mamak stalls, enjoying the local fare.
“People are also surprised to see me sipping the locally-brewed coffee and often asked what coffee I prefer,” he said.
“Well, I do like the ones in plastic bags,” he quipped.
When asked about the artwork depicting the plastic bags of coffee that was tied on one end, Zacharevic said he did some research and interviewed some old folks about it.
“They told me that back in the olden days, this was how the plastic bags of beverages were tied.
“The ones we have today is a modern concept and I chose to stick with my choice of the traditional style,” he said.
“It is also purely from an aesthetic context to draw it as such,” he added.
OldTown White Coffee chief operating officer and executive director Alex Chuah said Zacharevic was chosen to collaborate with on the project because of his well-known artwork.
“He can relate to the lifestyle of the locals through his journey and interaction with the people here,” he said.
Chuah also said that the project was to pay tribute to Ipoh Old Town, as the origin and birthplace of white coffee.
“It is also to celebrate the heritage and history of Ipoh and Old Town.
“It is a form of corporate social responsibility to give something back to the people of the city,” he said, adding that there were also plans to expand the project.
“We also hope to engage with local artists in the future,” he added.
Ipoh City Council licensing and enforcement assistant director Ahmad Zaiyadi Sudin said murals, as drawn by Zacharevic, were always welcomed.
“The city council, Datuk Bandar Datuk Harun Rawi included, have no objections toward these artworks.
“These can bring in more tourists to the city and we welcome that,” he said.
Ahmad Zaiyadi said it was important that anyone who wants to paint murals in the city needs to get the approval from the respective building owners and also from the city council.
“They need to submit their plans to our city council tourism department to get approval,” he said.
“These procedures are in place to avoid any complications or objections,” he added.