KK painter creates another work of art

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah artist Hong Yi continues to dazzle art lovers with her unconventional approach to painting.

This time, Hong Yi, who likes to be called “Red Hong”, painted an image of her hometown’s famous Gaya Street as part of Kota Kinabalu City’s “Bonding with Gaya Street” event held over the weekend.

Hong Yi’s 1.2m by 2.4m painting is made from 30,000 1cm square pieces, each painted in shades of grey to create a pixelated image of Gaya Street in the 1960s that she took from an old photograph.

The painting is best viewed from a distance and the building most clearly seen is a block of shops where United Trading (now Fong Ip Cafe) was once situated.

The most interesting bit about the work is not just the breathtaking image of the street that has been created but on closer look, intricate details are captured, like the names of the shops.

In all, the names of more than 200 shops are recorded.

Hong Yi said she wanted to capture the nostalgic atmosphere of the most iconic street in Kota Kinabalu in a creative and unique way.

Each square on the painting is written in alphabets or Chinese character so that the names of over 200 shops at Gaya Street were recorded on the painting.
The names of more than 200 shops are written on the squares.

True to her reputation as an artist who thinks and paints unconventionally, Gaya Street Then And Now memorialises the past and captures present-day Gaya Street for posterity. It took her about a month of planning, testing and working to get the work in place.

Hong Yi gained international attention last year when she painted China’s basketball star Yao Ming with a basketball.

Her other unorthodox painting styles have also produced, among others, portraits of Myanmar democracy icon and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi with dyed carnations and actor Jay Chou with coffee cup stains.

The Bonding with Gaya Street event was held in conjunction with Sabah’s 50th year of Independence via the formation of Malaysia.

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