One less mural in Ipoh

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IPOH — Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic is not harbouring any hard feelings after one of his iconic murals in the city was painted over by the building’s owner recently.

The world-renowned street artist is the man responsible for a series of murals painted on six buildings in Ipoh’s old town.

Zacharevic, who has painted murals in Singapore, Europe, and the United States, said he found out about the removal of the Girl with Stool and Birdcage mural from articles shared on social media by his friends.

He told Malay Mail the building owner had been kind to allow him to paint on the wall initially, unlike many owners elsewhere.

“My work is site-specific and some ideas can only work in particular locations. Owners often refuse to have my art placed on their buildings, especially at places where people are less familiar with such forms of art,” he said.

“But the owners of this particular building were welcoming and supportive. They were kind enough to allow me to place my work on their wall,” he added.

Zacharevic said there was an agreement in place that allowed the building to remove the painting.

“Whenever I paint on someone’s building, we will have an agreement where the owner is welcomed to remove the art if it offends someone, disturbs their business or simply fades to the point where they find it no longer appealing,” he said.

“The temporary nature of street art is part of its charm. It is common for art in the streets to be removed, damaged or simply fade away,” he said.

Zacharevic still has six other paintings in the city which remain as cultural attractions, drawing in art aficionados
and tourists.

The paintings are Hummingbird, Old Uncle with White Coffee, Paper Plane, Kopi-O, Trishaw, and Evolution.

The paintings are along Jalan Panglima, Market Street, Concubine Lane 3, Jalan Tun Sambathan and Jalan Padang.

Mural art has sprung around the city in recent years, with similarly fascinating pieces painted by Singaporean artist Yip Yew Chong and local painter Eric Lai.

Zacharevic said the latest development would not deter him from exploring future projects in Ipoh.

“It has been over three years since I first painted my series of works in Ipoh and it is natural that some of it would not survive that long.”

“Painting in Ipoh is not in my immediate plans but I am sure I will be back someday,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ipoh Mayor Datuk Zamri Man said a check with the premises owner revealed they decided to repaint the wall as the drawing had faded.

“The drawing was commissioned by Old Town Berhad, which operates the Old Town kopitiam restaurant chain, in 2014,” he said.

“As the drawing had since faded, the building owner decided to repaint the wall.”

Zamri said the council had no objection if the building owner had decided to repaint the wall.

“If it is to beautify the building, why not?”