Deaf artist portrays tradition with progress


Expression in colour: Gan putting finishing touches to the mural at Pusat Perkhidmatan Setempat Nelayan in Permatang Damar Laut, Bayan Lepas, Penang. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: A mural of a sea separating a traditional kampung setting from modern development is just about ready.

Penang-based self-taught artist Louis Gan Yee Loong, 35, who is deaf, is now putting the finishing touches to his latest masterpiece, which is expected to be ready today.

The painting, which also features modern-day fast boat ferries, sampan and age-old fishing techniques, is aptly placed by the scenic coast in Permatang Damar Laut in Bayan Lepas.

“The feeling is always great when you know you are almost done with your project. I really enjoy doing this.

“Those dining at the nearby restaurants can come over to take pictures with the mural,” he said via text messages.

The mural is painted on the office cabin of Penang’s Pusat Perkhidmatan Setempat Nelayan. It was commissioned by Penang Infrastructure Corporation (PIC), the company set up by the state government to implement the Penang South Islands (PSI) project.

Gan said he started doing sketches based on the theme and ideas provided several weeks ago. He took breaks in between, especially when the weather was too hot or whenever it rained.

“I started painting the mural last month using waterproof painting materials. Usually, an outdoor mural takes about one to two weeks to complete, depending on the weather.

“As for interior murals, it would take one week to complete,” he said, adding that he is also working on some personal projects and paintings now.

Gan, 35, is famed for his murals “Brother and Sister on a Swing” and “Children Playing Basketball” in Chulia Street Ghaut, as well as “Nostalgic Meal Order” in Kinta Lane.

He had just completed his paintings on the hoarding boards along the Batu Ferringhi main road.

PIC chief executive officer Datuk Seri Farizan Darus said the mural’s theme was based on integrating a sustainable development concept for the local community through the PSI project, to ensure the project will benefit the whole of Penang, beginning with the fishermen here.

“Louis’ (Gan) artwork has beautifully illustrated what PSI will accomplish,” he said.

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