Two countries, one heart
AKID One and SKLO. Meet two renowned visual artists from different backgrounds as they join forces for the first time at Art Lane.” The statement on the collaborative George Town Festival 2018 and Singapore Designers’ Showcase poster immediately catches my attention as soon as I walk out of The Wembley Hotel on Penang’s Magazine Road.
The former is none other than Mohd Zulfadli Ahmad Nawawi, the Kelantanese artist who singlehandedly introduced street art to Alor Star when he immortalised two of Malaysia’s greatest national leaders on the side walls of a pair of pre-war shop houses.
Although the feat was accomplished some three years ago but, right up to this very day, Akid One’s artwork featuring Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad and Tunku Abdul Rahman still manages to attract legions of fans daily.
MEETING AKID ONE
Although the place is already filled with a sizeable crowd comprising a good mix of local visitors as well as foreign tourists, it’s not difficult to locate Akid One as he’s the main crowd favourite. Inching my way forward to get a better view of the large wall mural featuring a demure Malay lady exactly behind Akid One, I come within earshot of the conversation between him and a group of teenagers who express a keen interest in his past. The youngsters appear to be aspiring artists, judging from their worn-out sketchbooks.
Hailing from Kota Bharu and speaking with a heavy Kelantanese Malay slang, Akid One tells the group that he began nurturing his artistic talent while pursuing his studies at Kolej Yayasan Melaka (KYM) in 2002. The artist admits that he only realised his artistic inclinations during a water colouring competition organised by KYM towards the end of his three year diploma course in animation.
“My confidence received a boost after winning the top award in that competition. With the RM2,000 cash prize came the opportunity for me to finally realise my dream of learning graffiti art. I used part of the money to purchase the expensive spray paint and haven’t looked back since,” shares the mural artist.
Continuing, he says that most members of society consider wall painting as a form of vandalism but he begs to differ. “When done properly and with the necessary permission, it actually becomes a great opportunity for an artist to express talent. I like mural painting as it allows a bigger audience to see my composition compared to those done on canvas and paper.”
When asked about his most memorable achievement, Akid One immediately cites his work commissioned by Petronas back in 2014 that placed his name and that of a fellow artist who assisted him, Abdul Qoyyum Mohd Nadzri, in the Malaysia Book of Records.
“We were only given eight days to paint a gigantic mural on the side of a 12-storey building in Kuala Lumpur’s Jalan Raja Chulan based on the theme ‘Tanahair Ku’ (My Country). In view of the time constraints, Abdul Qoyyum and I engaged a crane equipped with a skylift and used a combination of spray paint as well as rollers. The latter allowed us to cover more ground within a short time while the former was used to provide finer detail finishing,” recalls Akid One before beckoning two people standing at the back to join him. - Read More at New Straits Time
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