Rail-ly good spot for mural artists

Nason’s masterpiece depicting Penang’s icons, is made from over two million nickel-plated pins and is located near the exit of the Penang Hill Lower Station in Air Itam. — Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

THE next time you visit Penang Hill, don’t be in a hurry to board the funicular railway train.

At the Penang Hill Lower Station, it is worth making a quick stop to snap a selfie or two with its new mural to immortalise your visit.

The 18.43m by 4.8m mural depicts some of the attraction’s best-known icons – like the three types of passenger carriages that have been used over the years.

Among the illustrations are the original open-air wooden coaches used from 1923 to 1977, before they were replaced by air-conditioned, Swiss-made red-and-white ones with automated sliding doors.

These stayed in service until 2010. The railway underwent a complete overhaul and reopened in 2011 with faster blue-and-white coaches that remain the workhorses today.

The giant mural also features several animal species found in the area, such as the greater racket-tailed drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus), black giant squirrel (Ratufa bicolor) and dusky leaf monkey (Trachypithecus obscurus) with its young – which notably has a bright orange coat for the first six months of its life.

There are also monkey cups and other flora depicted in the mural located on the station’s rooftop.

A collaboration between Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) and Equator College Penang, it was done to celebrate Penang Hill Railway’s 100th anniversary.

The mural took eight students – Esther Chong Kai En, Hiew Jia Yi, Liang Kaiyin, Lee Xin Tian, Lim Jia Xin, Clifford Tan Wei Bin, Ong Wei Lin and Tan Amber – about a month to complete.

Speaking at the mural’s launch, Air Putih assemblyman Lim Guan Eng said it captured the essence of Penang Hill and illustrated the ingenuity of local talents.

“We hope the station can be a space for creatives to showcase their talents and be innovative in their artistic expression of the Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve.

“The project also allowed students to learn about the hill’s natural heritage, history and cultural significance.

“It was a unique opportunity to explore the state’s hidden gems and draw inspiration for their artistic endeavours.”

The mural complements several other artworks, such as Nason Ponniah’s Penang Hill Nickel Pin Art Monument made from approximately 2,316,500 pins. The pin art is located near the station’s exit.

Esther Geh’s paintings of monkey cups, fern leaves and scorpions adorn several pillars while Arkitek LLA and Fuan Wong’s Renewal sculpture, made from disused parts of the funicular, anchors a circular stairway leading up to the rooftop where a mural by Thomas Powell can be found.

Ayer Itam assemblyman Joseph Ng Soon Siang said having artworks at the station would give visitors something to admire while waiting for the trains, especially during peak periods when visitors might have to wait longer.

Moreover, with the popularity and reach of social media, people’s selfies could generate worldwide exposure for the attraction and increase tourism, he said.

“Six murals were recently completed around Ayer Itam.

“Besides visiting Kek Lok Si and Penang Hill, tourists can now also go for mural walks and explore the locality,” said Ng.

Also present at the mural launch were PHC general manager Datuk Cheok Lay Leng, Equator College Penang founder and chairman Datuk Chuah Kooi Yong, his wife Datin Pauline Chuah and the college’s principal Dr Michael Yap.

Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In Metro News

Church needs RM1mil to rebuild
RM2.6mil raised for 24/7 hotline
Homeless folk sent to transit centre in Sibu
Playground, outdoor gym near Klang stadium in disrepair
Move to boost digitalisation
Funds for Jinjang school to upgrade its facilities
Sepang council plans RM250mil budget for 2024
‘Keep sports facility open until 10pm’
First aid demo with 445 folk gets S’gor into record book
Out-of-the-box ideas to turn pillboxes into modern attractions

Air Pollutant Index

Highest API Readings

    Select State and Location to view the latest API reading

    Source: Department of Environment, Malaysia

    Others Also Read