Artists deserve state honours — Abdul Karim

Abdul Karim (centre) together with (from right) Siaw, Edwin and other distinguished guests in a group photo after launching the mural.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, July 19: Sarawakian artists making their mark on the world’s creative landscape should be recommended for state awards, suggested Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

The Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister said he would support the recommendations for artist like Leonard Siaw, who is no stranger to the creative arts scene, having left his print beyond Sarawak shores.

Siaw completed a piece entitled “Fishing Fun” at the Wall to Wall Festival Benalla 2018 in Melbourne, Australia, in 2018. He was the first Malaysian, as well as the first Asian sent by “Visit Victoria” campaign to make his mark at the festival.

He was picked for festival after winning the grand prize of the “Make Your Mark in Melbourne Street Art Competition 2017” organised by Visit Victoria and Publika Shopping Gallery in Kuala Lumpur.

“He (Siaw) has contributed to Sarawak and it is important to recognise his contributions like that of athletes, social figures and politicians. We want them to feel appreciated by the government,” Abdul Karim told a press conference on the Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival 2019 (KWJF 2019) here today.

Abdul Karim adds his touches on the mural as symbolic to launching the art piece featuring jazz icons by leading local artist Leonard Siaw.

The minister also launched a street mural of jazz icons on the facade of Riverside Majestic Astana Wing Hotel wall, painted by Siaw, a leading local street artist.

The mural is one of the features of KWJF 2019 organised by the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) that will take place on Sept 27-28 at the Waterfont Walkway.

Abdul Karim believed the KWJF street mural will become another great addition to make Kuching city more vibrant and lively.

“It is certainly another ‘Instagram-worthy’ picture taking spot for tourists and locals. We hope they can spread the word on the festival, as well as of this beautiful city,” he said.

Siaw poses for a photo with his latest mural as part of the jazz festival.

Meanwhile, Siaw said he was grateful to the suggestion by Abdul Karim to recommend him for state awards.

“I am truly thankful for the thought. Nevertheless, I will continue to play a small part to contribute to Kuching and Sarawak. This is my passion,” he told reporters.

On the latest mural, Siaw said it took him five weeks to complete the piece.

“Rain and hot weather are among the challenges faced when painting mural in public places,” he explained.

SEDC Commercial Sector deputy general manager Edwin Abit was present. — DayakDaily