THE largest interactive outdoor painted mural in Penang has been unveiled at the retail extension of Ikea Batu Kawan, symbolising a fresh start for the dynamic new community and township.
The mural was completed by self-taught artist Leonard Siaw from Sarawak with help from three art graduates.
It portrays cultural elements inspired by music, education, art and pop culture.
They were visualised through the books, graphic illustrations, and floral patterns in the completed mural, which can be brought to life through an integrated augmented reality component.
With the feature, viewers can use their smartphones to scan the mural and watch it become animated.
The huge mural was unveiled recently alongside Creative Spark, an art-based platform by Ikano Centres.
The platform is aimed at bringing communities together through an arts mentoring programme.
Ikea Southeast Asia’s shopping centre and mixed-used director Adrian Mirea said the Creative Spark project would be one of many initiatives to be launched with the collaboration of local communities.
“We aim to enable and empower our visitors to get involved in activities and enjoy our meeting places across all regions.
“In these tough times, more than ever, community-building has become a priority for our meeting places.
“As such, our plan for every destination is to facilitate learning as well as provide inspiration and memorable experiences.
“Our vision is to ignite connections within the community, ” he said in a statement.
Chief executive director Tan Chor Whye of Can Can Public Art said they were working with Ikano Centres on a platform to support the local creative industry as well as nurture up-and-coming artists in Malaysia.
He said Can Can Public Art aimed to help communities rethink possibilities and achieve new potential through art.
“This ‘Building Yourself’ mural is just the first of many collaborations to come.
“We hope we can contribute to positioning Batu Kawan as a vibrant hub for art and culture.”
Meanwhile, Penang State Art Gallery chairman Lee Khai shared his wish for Batu Kawan to be transformed into a space that encourages the community to connect.
“Penang has always been seen as an important destination for food and lately, for our art as well, ” said Lee.
“We are delighted to see a new development in Batu Kawan embracing Penang’s unique identity.
“We hope Creative Spark will continue to inspire our talents in creating art that brings light, joy and hope to Penangites.
“In the future when borders open up, I hope Creative Spark can touch the lives of other Malaysians and tourists too.”