KUCHING, Feb 15: Sarawak mural painter Leonard Siaw is attempting a 15 metre wide and 5 metre tall painting at La Promenade Mall.
The national record-breaking giant canvas is believed to be wider than two terraced houses combined and taller than a one-story building.
Siaw’s solo show at the mall was originally slated for December, 2021 and the artwork was “not that big”, but as discussions with Hock Seng Lee (HSL) and Hoan Gallery went on, the bigger the project became.
“The more I spoke to HSL and Hoan Gallery, the more ambitious we all became. This could end up as Malaysia’s largest canvas painting,” he said.
Because of the size, it took La Promenade Mall over one month to look for a canvas supplier from the United States and have the giant frame custom-built.
Siaw also spent two whole months doing his research, figure studies, site visits and portrait photography specifically for the piece.
“I’m as nervous as I am excited. I want to do something truly special and out-of-the-ordinary for my first solo exhibition,” said Siaw in a statement today.
The artist has postponed other commitments to focus on the La Promenade Mall project.
He estimates the canvas painting to be completed only after six months and will feature about 60 people in it.
At this point, Siaw has not revealed any other details of the artwork.
Meanwhile, Hoan Gallery proprietor Hoan Kee Huang said: “It’s going to be a great personal achievement for Siaw and something, I believe, that will be an important piece for Sarawak’s art scene.”
Siaw and Hoan had worked hand-in-hand on the project, photographing about 60 members of the public at the mall, workers at construction sites and oil palm plantations as references.
Some of Siaw’s popular works included ‘The Last Ring Ladies’ at Padawan, ‘Coolie Keng’ at Kuching Old Bazaar, ‘Symphony of the Tinsmith’ at Carpenter Street, ‘Sampan, the River Taxi’ at Jawa Street, and ‘The Lane Hawkers’ at Kai Joo Lane.
In 2019, Siaw, who is largely self-taught, was invited to paint a mural at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo, and also painted murals at Melbourne’s Wall to Wall Festival.
For more info, visit lapromenademall.com.my, hoangallery.com or search @LaPromenadeMall and @HoanArtGallery on social media.
Siaw’s social media handle is @leonardsiawart_. — DayakDaily