Wall mural that celebrates the Johor identity

“Regardless of age, ethnicity or background, Johor Baru will always be home;” This is the theme on which artists, Adeputra Masli, Akeem Keroncong, Low Shi Jian and Pauline See, created their designs on the Bangsa Johor wall.

By day, this site is used as a public carpark
The wall, which spans the length of a prewar shophouse that houses Maco Vintage Café, enjoys two street fronts at Jalan Ibrahim and Jalan Tan Hiok Nee.  

This was the canvas presented to the artists to express their creations that represent the rich and colourful diversity of the history and culture of the people of Johor.

This site is used as a carpark by day and frequented by office workers, locals and tourists who visit the city’s heritage quarter.  As parking space is scarce in the city, it was a challenge to keep the space open for the artists to paint their expressions on the wall.

Spot the iconic masks in this mural design
by Adeputra Masli
But come rain or shine, the artists overcame the challenges and completed their paintings as an item of the 13th Johor Baru Arts Festival. 

Recognised by their distinctive styles, each artist covered sections of the wall with murals that share their own thoughts and aspirations for Johor.

The unmistakable bold brush strokes of Akeem Keroncong portrays a child blowing bubbles.  While all the bubbles are floating in the invisible wind, some bubbles painted with Johor flags, appear to have wings that are flying them beyond our borders to reach greater heights of achievement.

In her signature design that often features a little girl wearing a red dress, Pauline See drew a mythical bird which is linked to a school of whales by climbing vines above a mangrove forest, inspired by Johor’s Ramsar Site.  Just as the whales are free to roam the oceans, the artist considers how the people of Johor are like the whales – exploring and gaining experiences from near and far – but yet have a homing instinct with strong ties to their home.

Note the artist, Pauline See's interpretation
of Johor's Ramsar Site in her mural design
A collection of musical instruments in the mural by Adeputra Masli – from keyboards, viola, gambus, guitar, maracas to a range of drums – are identified against a blend of bright colours.  (The artist’s signature designs of iconic masks, often presented in profile, are still evident in this creation.)  This artistic expression depicts how music transcends all borders!

Taking his inspiration from the traditional dragon dance and lion dance, Low Shi Jian, combined Indian and Malay elements to create a mythical creature that appears to be dancing to the beat of a kompang played by a futuristic character.  Low, the youngest of the four artists, observed the traits of Johoreans as progressive and forward-thinking people.

One of the items on the final day of the 13th JB Arts Fest was a drumming event where drummers collaborated for a special performance of Malay, Indian and Chinese drums. 

The drizzle did not stop artist, Low Shi Jian, from working on his wall mural
The drummers at the Bangsa Johor wall, exchanging skills and cultures in a unique drum show

This wall mural was the perfect backdrop for the drumming show where the audience enjoyed watching the drummers performing and exchanging skills and cultures in the spirit of Bangsa Johor.

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