Kuching finally gets cat on a wall

‘Fur’ you, my beloved city: Siaw working on the mural at Jalan Wawasan in Kuching. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE

KUCHING: A new mural by local artist Leonard Siaw is set to brighten up a corner of Kuching’s historical city centre.

Titled “I Love Kuching”, this latest painting is part of the “History on the Wall” series under the Old Kuching Smart Heritage initiative to record the city’s history in murals.

“The series was initiated about two years ago and I’ve done paintings depicting tinsmiths, pak penambang (sampan operators), textile sellers and hawkers.

“This is the final piece in the series and I’m here to get it done and hand it over.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the painting was delayed until now. I expect it to be done in a week, ” Siaw said.

The mural takes up a wall of a two-storey building at Jalan Wawasan here and measures about 6x12m.

It features a young woman with a cat to symbolise the city.

“I choose a ginger cat because it represents the colour gold and brings luck, so with that I hope the pandemic will be over soon, ” the artist elaborated.

As for the young woman, Siaw said he met her at a book launch three years ago and was inspired by her story.

“She wrote a book called The Journey to Becoming Fearless after recovering from an illness.

“I realised she had been through a lot and that she represented positive energy. Therefore, I picked her as the subject of this mural, ” he said.

Siaw, who is largely self-taught, has been painting murals since 2013.

One of his most recent works is a giant mural of the Bidayuh “ring ladies” at Kota Padawan here, which is also the largest piece he has done to date at 13.7x36.5m.

He has also painted murals at the Wall to Wall Festival in Melbourne, Australia and in Boston, US.

“I was invited by a friend to paint gorillas and a snow leopard at the zoo in Boston, ” he said, adding that the main challenges of painting a mural outdoors were the weather and the height of the piece.

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