Street art in Malaysia, was considered vandalism for many years, with pieces being destroyed and even painted over! In some instances, the artist was just unlucky with the entire building the piece was produced on, being sold off and demolished!
For example, Ernest Zacharevic’s fantastic installation ‘Rage against the Machine’ near Petaling Street, in Kuala Lumpur, was destroyed! Luckily these days…it is truly accepted as art in most cities across Malaysia and a new respect is gradually taking hold!
Malaysian Street art, is an expression of an artists interpretation of the culture, local way of life and even historical turning points in Malaysias history.
Some artwork more carefree and playful, designed to allow interaction between locals or tourists! Malaysian authorities have even begun to create specific spaces for artists to truly express themselves. One such area is Laman Seni 7 in Kuala Lumpur!
Street Art in George town, Penang
Penang is one of the most famous places for street art in Malaysia! It’s truly a place where you can be sure to see plenty of instagrammble photos of tourists interacting with the art!
Ernest Zacharevic was hired back in 2012 to help bring more awareness of the rich and vibrant history of George town in Penang. This created a snowball affect with many more artists following suit and creating fantastic pieces of street art all over George town. These days you can’t take a couple of steps without stumbling across a vibrant street art mural.
Many people draw similarities between Banksy pieces in London and the street art in Malaysia, but believe me it’s truly unique & culturally significant to Malaysia, especially in Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
18 Best Street Art murals in Kuala Lumpur:
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia and the Capital of street art! Klang Valley is a popular area where many life size & creative pieces of art can be seen to come alive!
18. Rage Against the Machine Bus
Location: Close to Petaling Street, Jalan Sultan, Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Artist: Ernest Zacharevic
Designed by Ernest Zacharevic, a talented Lithuanian artist who installed this unique artwork back it 2016. It was created on the wall of a car park located in Jalan Sultan in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur.
This piece of art was a great example, of real world elements with artistic blends, the centrepiece was a real school bus chopped straight down the middle.
The sad news, as mentioned in the introduction is that this great piece of artwork, no longer exists…it was completely destroyed with the reason unknown. Rumours suggest the car park was sold off, with building plans in the pipeline.
According to Ernests Facebook page:
“It was real shame as this was one of my favourite pieces of street art in Malaysia. The production mobilised to coincide with a BERSIH peaceful protest against corruption in electoral voting.”
He went onto say: “The intent was to create a work on the protest path in Kuala Lumpur, one of the last heritage locations.
Despite the physical relationship of the work and the issue in Malaysia, ‘Rage against the Machine’ points more broadly to a global wave of social consciousness.”
17. Tiki Bomber Mural
Location: Damai LRT station, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Artist: Bone Alfie
Damai LRT station, is not just a stop on the Kelana Jaya Line. It is the location of a superb art installation by Bone Alfie. Bone Alife is a skilled artist commonly known for small artworks and a few large wall pieces such as the one at Dami LRT station.
Created in July 2018, the artwork at Damai LRT station, depicts a colorful and exotic tiki character, riding a shark bomb while flying eye balls surround the tiki bomber! Some be say this reminds them of the “Uguu a Bugga” mask from the classic Playstation 1 game Crash Bandicoot.
16. Boy in Sampan Artwork
Location: Wisma Allianz Building, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Artist: Ernest Zacharevic
This another eye opening piece by the great Ernest Zacharevic, the great Lithuanian artist who has called Malaysia his canvas for a number of decades. This mural (which hasn’t been destroyed yet!) is of a young boy sitting in a Canoe (Sampan) and sailing past a stilted village.
If you look carefully, you will see a figure in the back ground staring at the boy, this is interpreted by some as a mother figure, keeping watch. Let us know your interpretation in the comments below!
15. The General Mural
Location: Kampong Datok Keramat, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Artist: Iqbal Hareez
An intricate mural which depicts a form similar to a classic no nonsense Army General, equip with cigar in mouth, army paint on face and look of war in his eyes! With fire and brimstone beneath, this character can be interpreted as coming straight outta hell!
Created by the talented artist, Iqbal Hareez…this is really one of those artworks where the more you look, the more you notice. The detail is stunning from the sunset background, to the generals gold tooth. This is an abstract piece and was designed in 2018 as part of the Meeting of styles Malaysia…a popular street art event began in Wiesbaden, Germany.
14. Hipster Boy & Kampung Boy – Tanahairku Street Art project
Location: Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Artist: Tanahairku Street Art project (Kenji + Cloak Work)
This art installation was part of the Tanahairku Street Art project, which was one of the biggest urban projects in Kuala Lumpur over the past few years. Tanahairku which means ‘My homeland’ was started on august 31st 2014 (Malaysia Independence day). Sponsored by Petronas, the event brought together 14 talented street artists to paint six murals across the city of Kuala lumpur as a celebration of Malaysias independence day.
This popular collaborative mural is called: “Hipster Boy & Kampung Boy” created by Kenji and Cloak Work.
This mural depicts two boys one from the city and the other a country boy…both playing with a kite painted with the Malaysian flag to symbolise unity between Malaysian people from different places and communities.
13. Old Man in Zombieland Art
Location: Publika Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Oldman in Zombieland is a quirky art mural, with multiple interpretations! First glances show cats looking as though they are trying to take over the world…by turning humans into mindless zombies!
This mural is one you should take some time to study and really digest when your in Malaysia. With so many elements some have interpreted it as a Picasso street art! It’s definitely good enough to be along side the greats!
12. Tiger boy with tablet Mural
Location: Jalan Raja Chulan, close to Menara Maybank, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Artist: Tanahairku street art project (Anokayer & Yumz – Mediumtouch crew)
11. Blowing “bubbles” Mural
Location: Jalan Alor, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
This is a powerful, yet simple artwork installation, which shows a boy blowing bubbles which are actually leaves! Some people find this mural very relaxing and happy inside. Take a closer peek and you’ll notice the wonderful shades of color, which are food for the eyes indeed!
10. Energy of Youth Artwork
Location: Chinese restaurant, Central Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Artist: Phiberwryte Connection
Another member of the famous Tanahairku Street Art project, this is a colorful graffiti style artwork, created by Phiberwryte Connection on the side of a Chinese restaurant in Kuala Lumpur.
The artwork consists of three words “Makmur, Luhur and Teguh” , which represent the “energy of the youth”
9. Monkey King Mural
Location: The Zhongshan Building, Kampung Attap, Kuala Lumpur
The Monkey King Mural, is based upon the popular television series “Journey from the west” and Chinese novel.
The white haired monkey king looks particularly evil on the side of the Zhongshan Building in Kampung Attap . After monkeying around, be sure to check out the newly refurbished Zhongshan buildings, with great food, local arts and unique music stores.
Nandos even ran a street art competition for the community! source.
7. Bangsar Graffiti
Location: Bangsar Village, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
If you ever wondered what an LSD trip might be like, check out this graffiti cladding street art! This colorful mural, gives you a different vibe each time you look at it.
From strange alien creatures, to many weird hands dotted all around the image. Challenge for the observant amongst you…COUNT HOW MANY HANDS ARE IN THE IMAGE!
He’s a clue, one is actually an aliens hair!
6. Changkat Art – River
Location: Changkat, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
A real highlight of Kuala Lumpur’s street art scene can be found in Changkat. Here you will find a life like mural of a river, which appears to be be REAL! It looks as though it’s flowing down the steps in such a magnificent way!
5. District Shop Gallery – Chilled Street Art!
Location: District Shop Gallery, Jalan Cheras, Kuala Lumpur
This cool street art, features a guy relaxed and sipping on some tea and generally lounging around. In Malaysia this is known as Teh Tarik & Chill .
4. The Mechanical Heart
Location: Pasar Karat, Petaling Street
A unique representation of a Mechanical Heart! Nestled in Pasar karat, Petaling street you will find the quirky artwork of a mechnical “ticker” equip with gears, springs and other elements. One popular interpretation of this, is that love can sometimes be Mechanical and routine…Let us know your interpretation below!
3. Avenue K Street Art – R2D2?
Location: Avenue K, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur City Centre
Avenue K is home to a Shopping mall, many hotels and even an Indoor theme park! However, our favourite thing here is the futuristic Malaysian street art which sits upon the wall!
Some liken this street art to R2D2, other say it’s just a interesting looking robot. There is also a few other street art spots around Avenue K, so definitely spend some time looking around.
2. Jalan Imbi Street Art- Skull
Location: Jalan Imbi, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
One of the most imaginative street art pieces you will see in Kuala Lumpur! This is a totem pole style, three level street art. It depicts an evil looking skull, with red Indian head gear…and an evil looking monkey above!
1. Jalan Panggung – Street art
Artist: Julia Volchkova
Location: Jalan Panggung , Lorong Panggung, Kuala Lumpur
This is a powerful mural of street art, created by the talented Julia Volchkova…who has created many works in Penang, Malaysia. Fortunately she has blessed kuala lumpur with her talents. This rustic piece is truly astonishing, one of the rare street artworks in Malaysia which uses dark colors.
The artwork depicts a older man, working hard while dressed in traditional Malaysian clothing. The street art can be interpreted as the older generation of Malaysians, being hardworking and sacrificing many benefits…with which we take for granted today.
Street art in IPOH, Malaysia
It seems everywhere Zacharevic heads the street art pilgrams follow! After he started to created some great artwork here, the art scene exploded. Ipoh is the capital of Perak state, situated between Penang and Kuala Lumpur.
When here, be sure to check out old town…see the amazing street art then relax after in one of the hip cafes or bars.
8 Best Street Artists in Malaysia:
Artists come from all over the world to use Malaysia as their canvas, such as the talented Ernest Zacharevic from Lithuania. Combine this with local artists such Eric Lai, a teacher from Ipoh. Amongst others these talented artists make Malaysia a wonderful & expressive place to travel.
Of course, Ernest Zacharevic from Lithuania makes the top of our list! From “Rage against the Machine” in Kuala Lumpur to literally kick starting the street art scene in George town. This man truly has the backstreets of Malaysia as his prized canvas!
Asmoe has been nicknamed the kick of wild Graffiti in Malaysia! Having been creating great artwork for over seven years, this guy shows great balance, color and coherence throughout his graffiti style street art.
Siek27 follows a similar style to Asmoe, with wildstyle graffiti, wide lettering and great use of color. Usually Sike27 murals are seen close by to Asmoes. If you look closely you will see a true perfectionist at work with dashes of color perfectly aligned.
4. Iqbal Hareez
As mentioned earlier this guy created the famous “general” mural in Kuala Lumpur. His instagram states he is part of the following crews ; Zulu Nation, Floorockerz / Wakaka crew 🇸🇬Three Flare Krew.
5. Bone Alfie
Creator of the great Tiki bomber mural at Damai LRT Station, detailed earlier…this is truly one the most talented street artists going.
A popular Malaysian street artist specialising in Graffiti styling of unique Characters. From monkeys to robots this guy is extremely creative and makes streets come alive.
7. Kenji Chai
A real great here who has a Manga graffiti style. In Kenji’s street art you will see a real individual style, with alot of Asian culture influence.
Dmojo is a skillful master of graffiti realism. A south east asian superstar, with some of the best spray can skills out there, he has created some real gems in Malaysia.
Difference between street art and Graffiti?
The difference between street art and graffiti is open to interpretation, but some suggest that graffiti is more associated with “tagging” an area with simple letters or phrases…whereas street art tends to depict more in depth scenes and even true masterpieces throughout different cities.
Want to not offend anyone when your next in Malaysia??
Check out this essential article on the Cultural Do’s and Don’ts while in Malaysia