Thought of the day – “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” – Edgar Degas
As in many towns and cities across the world, creative artists keep revealing their inner thoughts into new form of art, street art that came from the graffiti art in 1980’s. Our short journey in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus, brought us to some amazing pieces of art, on the wall of some buildings along Jalan Tunku Hassan as well Medan Seni Ujang which is located next to Terminal One.
Street art @ Jalan Tunku Hassan
The Roti bread man
In Malaysia, it’s a norm to see sellers on motorbike going around, selling products, from food to clothes! They sell just like anything, literally, and if some items are just too big, they will have them listed in the catalogue! It’s not surprising to see some Roti Seller around Seremban, this kind of service does still exist anywhere in Malaysia. The artist that created this painting surely has succeeded in reminding me of my childhood, I guess it happens to all those viewing this painting too! When I was a child, I waited for the Roti Man like every single day, eager to have his delicious roti!
Upeh refers to the stem of Areca Nut tree. When the tree is old, the stems normally fall to the ground and children (in some Asian Countries) play with them. A number of children will sit on the stems and someone will pull them forward. Stems from Coconut Tree can also be used in this olden days game. Normally, it’s just for fun as kids love having that kind of excitement. Some use it for competition as well, a race between 2 or more groups. It’s one of Malaysians’ leisure activities, especially in the villages.
Tarian Piring is a form of plate-dancing from West Sumatera, originated from the Minangkabau people. Minangkabau influence is dominant in Negeri Sembilan thus it is not that surprising that the artist chose this theme for the painting. Dancers hold the bottom of plates in the palm of their hands and swing them wildly using the inertia to keep the plate from falling. Dancers tap their plates with a ring on one of their fingers to animate their movement with sonic accompaniment.
Tarian Singa or Lion Dance is very popular in Malaysia. It’s one of the main elements in the Chinese culture and is usually performed during the Chinese New Year and other Chinese traditional, cultural and religious festivals. Lion Dance may also be performed at important occasions such as business opening events, special celebrations or wedding ceremonies or to honor special guests by the Chinese communities.
It’s definitely a universal playground thing for kids, especially grown-ups love it too! The artist tried to imply how people from different cultural backgrounds have no problem at all in playing the swing together. The main idea of this particular artist is to highlight brotherhood and sisterhood concept among locals in Seremban. This painting also reminds me of my childhood. Not only it has the aesthetic element, it also has the ability to tell viewers the importance of living together harmoniously regardless race or religion.
Festival of Lights
Hindus are not forgotten: the artist produced this art to depict the importance of lights for the Hindus during Diwali or Deepavali. Diwali, one of Hinduism’s most important festivals, is dedicated to Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. There are Hindus in Seremban and all over Negeri Sembilan, so having one painting portraying their important celebration is indeed interesting. Viewers are able to understand one of their rituals. The motive of this artist is perhaps to foster understanding between the many races among people living in Seremban.
It is one major thing in both Chinese and Thai culture. To be able to remind how important it is to foster closer relationships between races in Seremban and Malaysia, the artist chose to have this theme. That artist produced such one fine art, full of aesthetic and meaning.
Kids do this all the time. It’s one of their favorite thing to do when being in a garden or in an open field. In this particular art, a girl is portrayed running trying to catch the butterflies around her. A simple but interesting theme, chosen by the artist who painted this art. It has 3D element with the net being real, hanging onto the girl’s hand.
Is it a coincidence? We just had some Cendol at Hj Shariif’s restaurant prior coming to Jalan Tunku Hassan. To see one piece of art depicting Cendol business is indeed interesting, knowing that Malaysians love their Cendol! In the olden days, cendol sellers pushed their carts from a place to another, hoping to get people coming and buy their Cendol. Not far from this very street, there is one famous Cendol seller in Seremban, who else, Hj Shariff’s and his clan.
Although the paintings on the wall along Jalan Tunku Hassan are not that large in size as one may find in other towns or cities, all of them are equally interesting and have some ‘revelations’ or thoughts, thus creating mutual communication and interaction between the artist and the viewer (public). Street art, generally and undeniably, carries different messages like joy, happiness, sadness, festive moods and many more. So are the ‘paintings’ on the wall at Jalan Tunku Hassan, all depicts the Malaysian thoughts and culture, as if it’s telling some great stories.
The Majlis Perbandaran (Town Council) Seremban, Negeri Sembilan stated that all paintings are with 3D elements and depicts the variety of culture in Negeri Sembilan. It hopes to add more interesting paintings on more buildings around Seremban by inviting more local and talented artists. For easy access, the town council has prepared a map for future visitors, as shown below. All together, there are 9 paintings along Jalan Tunku Hassan (as shown earlier).
Street Art @ Medan Seni Ujang
Location: Terminal One Seremban
Malaysian famous cartoonist, Ibrahim Anon, better known as Ujang, painted one long mural on a wall at Terminal One Seremban. This place was later named Medan Seni Ujang. With the help of 5 other painters, they wanted to highlight the family concept, village lifestyle and especially the Adat Perpatih of Minangkabau being practiced here in Negeri Sembilan.
Their effort was completed in 5 days in October 2015. The mural portrays Malaysia’s popular cartoon characters such as Atuk, Aca and Ujang. For the record, Ibrahim Anon started his career as cartoonist way back in 1982 and produced several hits (cartoon publications) such as Aku Budak Minang, Jibam, Aca and Atuk.
Ibrahim Anon (Ujang) and his team created the ‘art’ which is 12 meters long, a project in collaboration with Majlis Perbandaran Seremban or Seremban Town Council. It is their hope that such collaboration ably to attract more visitors/tourists to Seremban.
As art admirers, street art to be exact, we hope that this project will be a continuous one as there are still certain parts or walls around Terminal One Seremban that can be fully utilized. 12 meters is not that really long and we both hope to see more of it when we come to Seremban in the future. That said, we do appreciate the effort though and our hope goes for the street art at Jalan Tunku Hassan as well. More should be produced in order to beautify the wall of some buildings, especially the old shop houses that need new ‘looks’.