Kuala Lumpur will be transformed into a street art capital, adorned with giant mural paintings through the beautification of back lanes and in between buildings in the city.
The project, to be carried out in stages, is inspired by the success of cities such as Melbourne, Australia which is famous for the creativity of its street artists, whose works have become a world attraction.
The Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) is currently looking into the design and technical aspects of the project. Kuala Lumpur Mayor Datuk Mahadi Che Ngah said following the success of pilot projects, such as the transformation of the previously dark, smelly and dirty lanes at Changkat Bukit Bintang in March 2018, DBKL will expand the work to other lanes.
He said besides the Bukit Bintang area, the project would also be carried out at Lorong Sultan and Lorong Petaling, which are near Pasar Karat and Petaling Street.
“Pasar Karat is normally frequented by antique lovers, while Petaling Street is a famous place among tourists, and is also a ‘trademark’ of KL.
“However, many people are afraid to use the lanes, regarding them as ‘black’ areas and unsafe... so this project will give a new image, to make the lanes cleaner, safe and cheerful, ” said Mahadi.
Mahadi said for Lorong Sultan, the proposed mural will feature the history of the area and rustic signage will be put up. Meanwhile, the infrastructure, which includes the drainage system, will be upgraded.
“It will also involve recolouring the pavement and putting up additional street lights, ” he added.
For the mural painting at Lorong Petaling, he said it will feature aesthetic and “Instagram-able” pictures of nature to make the area cheerful and beautiful.
“This will help to boost the economic sector, especially business opportunities in the area, with visitors going there not only to shop, but also for various other leisure activities such as photography, ” he added.
Mahadi said the paintings at the lanes will each each have a different concept, theme and identity, depending on the background and history of the area concerned, as well as based on suggestions by the local community.
“For example, at Jalan Alor, the people there want bright and cheerful colours, so images like butterflies and rainbows are chosen, ” he said.
Elaborating on the pilot project at the Bukit Bintang area, Mahadi said that until now, six back and side lanes have been given a facelift.
The lanes are at Jalan Changkat Bukit Bintang, Jalan Berangan, Jalan Rembia, Jalan Tengkat Tong Shin and Jalan Changkat Bukit Bintang, he added.
Meanwhile, two other projects, which involve the setting up of a pocket garden at the intersection of Jalan Rembia (in front of Hotel Malenge) and a food festival at Jalan Rembia and Jalan Alor, are still in the planning stage, Mahadi shared.
“These projects will be implemented because of the significant impact it will bring to the local community, to make them love the place and create a sense of belonging, for them to together take care of the place.
“From just being inside buildings, they now feel good and comfortable going out, meeting and communicating with others, ” he added.
The transformation would also increase the rental value of shop lots in the area by up to 40%, as well as create employment and business opportunities.
Besides the back and side lanes, Mahadi said DBKL is also looking into having mural paintings on suitable buildings, such as a “feeder pillar” and along walkways, like the ones at the River of Life (RoL) Bukit Nanas area.
Mahadi said the KL Wholesale Market had also been given “life” and beautified with mural paintings.
“We see the potential of the KL Wholesale Market to become a tourist attraction, like the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne,” he noted. – Bernama
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