MURAL painter Leonard Siaw is attempting a national record at La Promenade here.
Siaw, who is best known for ‘The Last Ring Ladies’ in Padawan and ‘Coolie Keng’ at Kuching Old Bazaar, has begun work on a 15m by 5m artwork — wider than two terraced houses combined and taller than a one-storey building.
He has postponed other commitments to focus on the La Promenade project.
“I’m as nervous as I am excited. I want to do something truly special and out-of-the-ordinary for my first solo exhibition.
“The more I spoke to Hock Seng Lee (HSL) and Hoan Gallery, the more ambitious we all became.
“This could end up as Malaysia’s largest canvas painting,” Siaw said.
His solo show at the mall was originally slated for December. He estimates the canvas painting will only be done after six months.
Hoan Gallery proprietor Kee Huang said, “It’s going to be a great personal achievement for Siaw and something, I believe, that will be an important piece for Sarawak’s art scene.”
Siaw and Hoan are working hand-in-hand on the project. The duo have photographed about 60 members of the public at the mall, workers at construction sites and oil palm plantations as references.
At this point, Siaw is not revealing the artwork’s details like subject matter, other than the size.
HSL property admin manager Shirley Loo said the art piece’s frame and canvas were custom designed and built.
“No canvas is 15m wide in Kuching. It’s so big. We even called up suppliers as far as Penang, but in the end, it had to be custom built-to-order.”
Siaw’s art is found across Kuching, including ‘Symphony of the Tinsmith’ at Carpenter Street, ‘Sampan, the River Taxi’ at Jawa Street and ‘The Lane Hawkers’ at Kai Joo Lane.
In 2019, Siaw, who is largely self-taught, was invited to paint a mural at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo, and painted murals at Melbourne’s Wall to Wall Festival.
For more info, visit lapromenademall.com.my, hoangallery.com or search @LaPromenadeMall and @HoanArtGallery on social media.
Siaw’s social media handle is @leonardsiawart_.