A rather cool thing happened across the border in Johor Bahru last month. Lithuanian street artist Ernest Zacharevic had painted two Lego characters – one depicting a masked man with a knife on one side of a building, waiting to mug a woman carrying a Chanel bag “around the corner”. It was cute and current in the sense cos Legoland has recently opened in the Malaysian state, which is known for – especially among us Singaporeans – for good seafood, cheap necessities, and yes – hold-ups and thefts.
Needless to say, the local city council was up in arms of what they see as insinuation that the southernmost state is a city of crime (But, but...)
What I love best about the story though is that when word went round that the authorities may “tear down” the mural, two local artists took it upon themselves to add a police officer complete with handcuffs (see above) next to the would-be mugger, hoping that will “dilute” the crime bit! How sweet is that! Alas, it was to no avail cos days later the JB authorities whitewashed the entire mural, but not before hundreds of people – including loads of Singaporeans who apparently travelled all the way to the spot just to “take picture” – have taken loads of photos of the mural. So much so that tons of copies soon appeared all over the city, in different sizes but always same positioning – on private buildings, vans, cafe corners, tee-shirts – you name it!
At times, many things can be considered as vandalism but if there’s a funny and arty side to it – I won’t start on Singapore’s Sticker Lady but I confessed I enjoyed her funny street slogans and stickers! – I think the authorities should find a way round to support the art rather than tearing it down.
Anyway, I have since become a fan of street artist Ernest Zacharevi who was also responsible for the super cool Minions on the Block (below) in Singapore! He turned three cement barrier blocks into the loveable, instantly recognisable minions dressed in riot gear! According to my friend who saw it, it’s somewhere in Joo Chiat. I hope it’s still there when I’m in the area to “take picture”!
Photo Credit: #1 and #3 from Ernest Zacharevi’s Facebook page; #2 – as seen in The Straits Times.