ENGLISH artist Thomas Powell pays tribute to all that is unique about the country, with his Visions of Malaysia mural in Penang.
Adorning one side of the Shell Jelutong Expressway station, it depicts various architectural, cultural, natural, historical and culinary elements.
The 7.6m x 4m artwork was created as part of Shell's Celebrating 125 Years art project that marks the oil and gas giant's long-standing presence in the country.
According to the 30-year-old from Yorkshire, the brief was to highlight Malaysian pioneering spirit and progress, as well as familiar scenes and daily life.
It took him four days in August to paint the piece. The imagery includes traditions like lion dance, batu seremban, joget and the wau.
National symbols like the hibiscus and hornbill feature alongside the pinang tree, durian, teh tarik, ketupat, nasi lemak and kuih.
Also present are a group of sailing ships in reference to the island's colonial past.
A salvaged trishaw, which visitors can interact and pose with, completes the work.
“Malaysia is a wonderful place with great food, culture, traditions, festivals and wildlife. I wanted to celebrate all these.
“I hope people can use it as an inspiration to strive for better things and take the country to greater heights," said the full-time artist in a recent interview.
He also felt that, as a foreigner looking at things with fresh eyes, he could appreciate what is special about the country that locals might perhaps take for granted.
Powell's mural is one of the 15 created at Shell stations nationwide - with at least one in each state, under the art project.
The other participating artists are Datuk Lat, Cheeming Boey, Sabek, Yap Hanzhen, Amey Sheikh Ali, Caryn Koh and Dmojo.
Shell Malaysia Trading Sdn Bhd and Shell Timur Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Azman Ismail said the company had journeyed with Malaysians for 125 years.
Having achieved many things along the way, they hope to continue driving the pioneering spirit, which has been integral to the country's success.
“Each mural reflects on society's common values, which Shell also embraces as part of its DNA — diversity, unity, respect and inclusiveness.
“We believe these values unite Malaysians across the country, and will propel the nation forward into the next 125 years.
“Our aim is for the murals to reach out to people, and hopefully inspire and enrich their lives,” he added.
The Celebrating 125 Years project is just one of many initiatives the company has lined up to commemorate the milestone this year.
In July, it ran the #Pump 123 three-day charity drive in conjunction with Hari Raya, whereby one sen from every one litre of fuel purchased was channelled to disadvantaged children across the country.
In September and October, it also released a series of videos called #StationStories where customers share some of their most memorable experiences.
For more information on its activities, visit www.shell.com.my/125years.