DHIYAUL Mohamad Ashraf Dawari is a self-taught street artist whose works often leave passers-by captivated.
In mid-February, the award-winning Dhiyaul along with 15 other artists completed 65 murals depicting animals, birds, reptiles and even insects along back lanes parallel to Jalan Tengku Diauddin and Jalan Dato Hamzah in Klang, right across the Sultan Abdul Aziz Royal Gallery.
Each mural took two to eight hours over a period of six-and-a-half weeks to complete.
Dhiyaul’s talent can be seen with each brush stroke breathing life into the ubiquitous white walls, rejecting the dull mood amid the current Covid-19 pandemic.
One of the murals – a colourful peacock in rich shades of intense neon blue and green with a tinge of gold – has especially won the hearts of the community in Klang’s Little India.
Kelantan-born Dhiyaul, 29, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic and Multimedia from Universiti Tenaga Nasional (Uniten), said his love for art began during his kindergarten years and went on to become a leisure pursuit as he grew up.
“Upon graduation, I worked in the video-editing section of a media company in Shah Alam for some 18 months. I realised it was not my cup of tea and left the firm.
“It has now been about five years since I set up my own company, Art Battalion, to pursue my dream in art, ” he said.
Dhiyaul clinched the first place in the Toyota Gazoo Racing Mural Art Competition in Serdang and second place in the Mural Competition Butterworth Art Walk in Penang in 2018.
Known by the nickname Yaulacap, the father of two boys aged three and four started as a chalk artist and only recently began focusing on mural painting.
“As lead artist, I reach out to other talented artists each time there is a street wall that needs to be painted.
“Art Battalion was commissioned by Klang Municipal Council (MPK) to brighten up the alleys parallel to Jalan Tengku Diauddin, ” he said.
Retired Waterworks Department employee Serjeet Singh said the murals along the main back lane lent a feeling of hope and confidence that was needed more than ever now.
“It is a much cleaner, safer back lane now and people are confident of using it as a short cut, ” he added.
Officially unveiling the mural lane, now known as the Klang Heritage Safari Walk, was Housing and Local Government Ministry secretary-general Datuk Zainal Abidin Abu Hassan.
Also present were MPK president Dr Ahmad Fadzli Ahmad Tajuddin and several heads of department.
The murals are part of the council’s urban upgrade initiative under the RM6mil Royal Klang Town Heritage Walk project.
Dhiyaul said as an award- winning street artist, it was so much more than just painting walls for him.
“Our team’s plan is to turn drab places into colourful, pulsating and delightful spaces, one wall at a time, ” he said, adding that Art Battalion handled anything from large-scale mural projects to simple paintings.
MPK Corporate Communica-tions Department director Norfiza Mahfiz said the artworks had altered the urban landscape in the area and brought about positive change while encouraging people to use the back lanes.