Abdul Karim: More care by artists, authorities must be taken to protect iconic murals

Abdul Karim expressing his thoughts on the orang-utan mural at Jalan Power during a press conference held today (July 4, 2022) at DayakDaily’s office in Kuching.

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By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, July 4: Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah suggests installing glass or railing similar to those in museums to protect public murals, so that the public cannot touch them as well prevent vandalism.

He opined that authorities or those who wish to paint murals in the future must consider multiple factors, such as how to prevent murals from being damaged or vandalised, as well as educating the public not to vandalise the murals because they are public property.

“It is unfortunate that the orang-utan mural has been superimposed by another mural,” Abdul Karim said at a press conference today at DayakDaily’s office here before officiating at the D-Drift 2022 flag-off ceremony.

He noted that the orang-utan mural at Jalan Power was completed several years ago by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic.

“When the mural was painted on the wall in that way, we, the authorities, are partly to blame, and so is the general public.

“When it is done on the wall and people touch it, the mural fades after a while. I don’t know how much vandalism has been done on that mural, nor why it has been superimposed by another mural, which could be because the paint has eroded or peeled off, and that they (authorities) came up with another new one, which could be their last recourse,” he pointed out.

Abdul Karim, who is also the Minister for Youth, Sports, and Entrepreneur Development, remarked that if the mural was painted over due to vandalism, it is unfortunate because the mural was done by a famous artist and was vandalised by the public.

“I believe we have to educate the public because murals like that are priceless.

“We from the ministry do support, and you can see the big “ring ladies” mural at 10th Mile, which is also supported by my ministry, and I love seeing all these murals coming up in Kuching,” said Abdul Karim.

He opined that mural artists should also, as much as possible, not paint in areas where the public can easily touch the paint, such as higher up walls out of reach, in order to protect their creations.

On July 1, 2022, the DayakDaily team went to Jalan Power to check on the orang-utan mural, only to discover that the adorable mural had vanished. — DayakDaily