Thursday, 10 July 2008

Kuala Lumpur's Pudu Jail Mural

I have been in KL for 2 and a half weeks now, and with the workshop weekends located at Central Market, we are right in the heart of the city. A section of KL city centre on a Sunday feels like downtown Nepal!

I accompanied a small group of participants weaving our way from Central Market via Jalan Tun HS Lee and into Leboh Ampang, passing Medan Pasar into the back streets of Kota Raya shopping complex. The streets are filled with Nepalese, Myanmar and Bangladeshi citizens hanging out with their friends, shopping, eating, it was incredible. Even some restaurants serve Nepalese food, with Nepalese signage, DVD's stores, money changers, groceries etc. I felt like a tourist in KL.

The sights and sounds brought back memories of walking through some market streets in Ho Chi Minh City, or even in Brick Lane. This is what a real city should feel, not the cosy air-conditioned malls that so many frequent at the weekends.

At the workshop, I toyed with the idea of documenting through photographs the painted mural of the Pudu Jail exterior walls. The mural was painted by several inmates in the early 1980s and the prison was built by the British in 1895. The prison has been earmarked for demolition soon, to be replaced by another commercial/office development as it sits on prime land.

The mural painting is a panorama of nature, with jungle scenes, trees, hills and rivers and stretches the entire 2 flanks of the prison, and may still be the world's longest external mural.

I have sought the workshop's participants to jointly work on the project, with the end result to produce a small book to celebrate the achievement. Watch this space..


Me... Only Better said...

Ah...I thought you posted the pics of the murals here..can't wait

Yeah..looks like a foreign city alright..heh heh...

svllee said...

For the pics of the murals you will have to wait for the book! .. Or take a walk on Jalan Hang Tuah And Pudu.

Zawi said...

The authorities only think of money when they develop the Pudu Jail area with another unneeded super mall. They never see the beauty in anything else they will be realised to be valuable only after they are too late to do anything.
The Pudi Jail can be a great tourist attraction if it is marketed correctly. Tourists can't only be seeing Twin Tower all the time.