Ipoh, the capital city of Perak state, was once a booming tin mining town during the British colonial era. However, the collapse of tin prices and closure of tin mines in the late 1970s meant that the town lost some of its lustre over the years. Activities slowed down and migrants moved out, leaving behind grand old buildings. For street art lovers, there is a new attraction in Ipoh Old Town that is certain to pique their interest - a set of seven murals. The beautiful murals, akin to Penang's Zacharevic artwork, are painted on the back walls of several old shops in a lane which connects Jalan Masjid and Jalan Sultan Iskandar Shah (Hugh Low Street). The paintings were painted on old, heritage buildings, an effort which i found commendable in preserving these rare gems. The paintings highlight the many cultures of Malaysia with a pinch of cheekiness with popular childhood games like hide-and-seek and mother hen, and a beautiful waterfall scenery, amongst others. This back alley is also filled with colourful wall murals depicting life from the simpler days when pleasure was attained from blowing bubbles and hiding around corners.
提及 “艺术”, 大抵都以“高尚, 难以捉摸, 遥不可及” 这样的词语来形容, 可其实, 艺术不会因为你是平民而对你视若无睹, 也不会因为你是王公而对你青眼有加, 儿时在白墙上的涂鸦, 夜晚安眠中美轮美奂的梦, 又何尝不是艺术的世界, 在这纷扰又急速的社会中, 你有多久没停下来欣赏一张壁画? 你有多久没有听艺术家讲过自己的故事了？
怡保在这两年内出现 "本地风" 后巷壁画热潮, 渐成怡保拍照亮点去处. 怡保新街场谦街及休罗街之间后巷, 目前是怡保最多壁画的后巷, 而作为本地画家赖伟权, 是率先也是目前为止唯一在后巷作画的画家, 为两排百年老店后巷留下一系列壁画. 至今, 该条后巷的大小壁画累积至22幅左右, 並奠定了一定的名气.
我不久前探访过槟城, 看到那里的壁画掀起遊客热潮, 我也希望怡保也有这样的艺术. 怡保这里后巷多得是, 所以一样可在这些壁上画, 为怡保后巷打造文化气息, 也希望吸引更多遊客到来欣赏. 这一次我决定走入怡保市看看它今年崛起的壁画热潮, 究竟本地画家赖伟权和伙伴们如何美化怡保市和增添艺术气息.
If one had not known better, if seems that mural art is making some form of ‘comeback’ in recent years. The truth is, mural art has been around and it only gained a lot more popularity these days in Malaysia. One of the artists who have ventured into this highly visible and exciting art form is art teacher Mr Eric Lai. He was inspired by the works of Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic, who is no stranger to the Malaysian mural art scene. Eric said that the murals by Zacharevic have become a popular attraction among photographers and tourists in Penang and he wants to do the same type of initiative for the Perak state capital.
怡保新街场谦街及休罗街之间后巷, 因壁划画上, 成了旅遊景点, 每天吸引不少遊客来欣赏. 本地壁画家赖伟权和一班同样热爱怡保及壁画艺术的朋友, 将成立 “故仔街艺术文化协会”, 并以后巷一间空店位为基地, 让艺术创作不再局限于壁画, 而是推广至更宽的创作空间. 这条老街后巷的壁画主要分为三个部分, 一是本地传统文化, 二是儿时玩意, 三是早期的商业活动. 这些壁画是由赖伟权带领学生们在2013年1月至11月期间, 在后巷著手系列与本地文化及风情为主题的画作, 陆陆续续画下的.
故仔街基地目前是在后巷其中一个空置多年的店位, 除了推广壁画文化, 还有陶艺及装置文化. 这店位空置多年, 业主答应借出半年让他和学生热身, 到时将在后巷物色另一个适合的长久性地点, 打造真正的故仔街. 在休罗街后巷壁画, 属于公开性, 就像一块磁铁, 把好的或不好的文化也吸进来, 就好像之前的涂鸦一样. 这里虽然受到保护, 但任何人包括到来参观的遊客, 都可参与创作, 包括在这里划画, 除了可为故仔街的艺术添色彩, 也让他们发挥艺术潜能. 后巷壁画是就地取材, 也会随着岁月而渐渐消退; 而故仔街的创作概念则不只是壁画, 还有陶艺, 装置等, 还会不断加入新的艺术创作元素. 这里也可提供一个空间, 以举办画展或其他艺术展览, 凝聚更多爱好文化艺术者.
Mr Eric Lai had wanted to carry out this mission until an opportunity came along when a ‘supporter’ offered to fund the material for him to do so, hence he jumped in at the idea. He promptly approached the building owners who had no objections and also alerted Ipoh City Council’s Building Department before he started work. The project, commissioned by the Ipoh City Council in January last year, was meant to showcase 57 hand-painted murals by Mr Eric Lai and his art studio students.
Mr Eric Lai intends to continue doing his wall art but only during the school holidays when his students will be able to participate. For him it is his contribution to make Ipoh more beautiful and hopefully attract more tourists. These artwork can be categorised into three types: culture & tradition, children’s games, and life in the old days.
The alley is being transformed into an ‘art gallery’.
一走入后巷, 在左边的墙壁看到的是各民族的传统文化及舞蹈, 如舞狮、印度舞、马来传统骑马舞等等.
Mr Lai's murals had a cultural theme as well as of children’s activities such as blowing bubbles, playing hide and seek and boys playing at a waterfall. Undoubtedly these scenes depicted a time when these were common activities even though they are now rare.
What is exciting about these paintings is not just that they brighten Ipoh’s back lanes but that Mr Eric Lai often works with children and young persons to do the work. It is so refreshing to see the commitment and excitement in these children. He also takes pains not to paint over the walls but to build the art into the stains, vegetation and colour of the existing buildings.
Another common economic activity in the past. Mining for tin ore.
我站在马路旁欣赏街头壁画, 虽然不是出自于什么名画家, 但这些艺术家所画的壁画让都市增添生气, 有一些涂鸦图看了会让人会心一笑, 有些甚至带出社会信息但这些艺术家所画的壁画让都市增添生气.
The sketches are simpler, bolder but more vibrant colours.
Hide & Seek brought so much priceless fun to our childhood days; when all we needed were a good number of players and well, spaces to hide from the seeker.
The traditional occupation murals include – pottery making.
这几幅作品描述这当年的老怡保, 大都靠着锡米采矿为生. 那些年的纪录重现就好像不久前发生过那样. 想当年没有机器全都是靠人工苦力辛辛苦苦采矿. 我也是最近看了 ‘唐山到南洋’ 这一部新加坡剧才对采矿锡米有了一些了解, 才知道原来当年是那么的辛苦.
An almost 3D rendition of a Waterfalls and Happy Kids oblivious to the State of the World. A frolic in the waterfalls is so vivid where the mottled walls give a natural rocky appearance and sprouting leaves mimic the lush forests of Malaysia.
这一幅我个人还蛮喜欢的, 结合了原本墙壁上的青苔和树子, 完成了这幅孩子戏水图. 以壁癌合为一体的一幅作品. 我曾经看到报道说这是来自日本的一位艺术家的作品. 画着小朋友们在瀑布戏水, 那些壁癌的瑕疵就成了四周的草丛, 很有创意的一幅作品.
The Eagle & The Chicks? If you haven’t seen or play this game before, then you must be a baby of the 90’s. Or Millennium generation.
名人壁画. 后巷也有纪念爱因斯坦, 曼德拉, 迈克尔杰克逊和李小龙的壁画.
怡保后巷壁画与其他地方的壁画不同, 主要是利用墙壁上的独特纹理、色彩、青苔及墙漆脱落形成的残陷美作画, 当中也透发着 “真、善、美”的 3种含意. “真” 是指后巷曾有工人搬运货物滴下的汗水、或躲在后巷休息聊天, 一种鲜少人会留意的生命力; “善” 是说当地业者多属祖业, 经一代传一代, 今日仍不忘欲重演后巷热闹的情景; “美” 是指美术工作者与参观的公众一齐促成此美事.
The murals have three remarkable themes of cultural arts, child’s play and traditional occupation. The weathering walls provide an unique medium for every piece of art, making every piece of mural one and only.
墙壁的痕迹, 隐约地告诉它的岁月, 这些店屋也经历了无数的秋天, 但它还是屹立不变, 来到创意无限的时代, 老店屋也有出头天, 这条后巷就是最好的见证！
Arts and cultural elements, as well as traditional games played when we were kids are highlighted by art teacher Mr Eric Lai and his team of students; splashing colours back to the otherwise dead alley in town.
城区老墙作画成为艺术家展现才华的集中地, 而融入各种民族特色和生活风俗的壁画, 也逐渐成为怡保市区的热门点缀方式. 怡保休罗街老店后巷墙上的壁画, 就是个具创意的方式, 平时冷清僻静的后巷, 因壁画缤纷的色彩, 弥漫着温馨热闹的气氛. 在历史老店屋墙上, 镶砌美丽独特的壁画, 不仅愉悦动人, 亦足以让游客手舞足蹈, 载入融汇大马特色的回忆.
Artwork of rubber harvesting.
怡保后巷壁画虽没有如槟州的立体壁画, 不过许多公众来到现场, 看了之后都蛮喜欢有关壁画, 也会跟壁画互动拍照.
Another favourite hobby of young people in the past - watching best fighting fish keeping fighting against each other. These fishes just can't stand the sight of another of its kind. The moment one is put into a jam jar with another, both will change into dark colour and fins, gill covers expanded. Watching these fish fight could be quite a experience for the uninitiated. Almost immediately, they really tear at each other, usually leaving the loser dead. Do children of today still challenge each other to a fighting fish fight?
马来西亚有多元种族, 着一些作品都纪录着每一个种族的传统. 游戏, 文化, 节日庆典等等.
The result is a wonderful glimpse of scenes of life and culture of a bygone era. Only part of the whole wall was used for the painting without any cleaning to provide a natural feel of the scene. Acrylic paint was used for the art work.
这我们小时候常玩的: 躲猫猫, 构思还不错. 可以让人联想起小时候的玩意. 我看现在的小朋友是没有玩过的些玩意了.
A black-and-white mural of an airplane with a black rose drawn in the background was painted in memory of the recent tragedy of MH17 - 298 passengers and crew of Malaysian Airlines Flight.
后巷有一副壁画, 以哀悼不幸罹难的马航MH17客机的乘客与机组人员, 同时让民众留下寄语鼓励家属要坚强. 该壁画是一辆以黑白色为主的马航客机, 且写着 “Rest In Peace MH17" (马航MH17安息吧) 的留言. 其中包括 “RIP” (安息), "Pray for your soul" (为你的灵魂祷告) 以及“安息吧, 爱你的人会坚强” 等留言.
From the drawings there is general impression that the artist is trying to preserve memories of his childhood days on the walls of this memory lane. Let's hope he and his students will continue to add more pictures like these to the existing ones. Every picture has a story to tell. I'm sure, for everyone who was a child in the 1950's - 1970's era, can identify with these drawings and will have their own story to relate to their younger generation.
每一个城市都有它们的历史价值. 虽然我没有机会参与当年的事, 现在自由靠画或建筑物来回味, 也可以让我有个机会一边旅游一边领悟什么是历史. 后巷壁画可带动怡保人的审美观, 看多一点美的事物, 若每条后巷都有壁画, 怡保可能会出现另一番的景象.
我个人觉得怡保的壁画比槟城的更有意思, 有主题. 走完一条后巷我们会看到怡保的历史, 很有感觉. 还有, 怡保后巷壁画最大的特点就是, 每一幅作品都保留着墙壁上的岁月痕迹. 那一些点点斑斑替这一些画增加了另一番经典的 feel, 一点都不会令人觉得格格不入, 就好像它就是画里的一部分, 很融洽. 整整一条后巷斑驳的墙壁, 壁画内容多半与当地人生活息息相关. 对于这一系列的壁画, 我觉得有点趋向于平面, 互动性不强. 怡保壁画则较有文化色彩, 可以一窥马来西亚各民族的文化及早期的一些活动.
A freelance Singapore-based travel photographer / photojournalist. I seek the extraordinary, but finds beauty in the everyday. Life is interesting, capture it.
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