Artist Transforms Dilapidated Six Storey Building Into A Work Of Art

It took him 9 months to complete.

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Artist Transforms Dilapidated Six Storey Building Into A Work Of Art
Fadzlan Rizan Johani on Facebook

What a stunning difference!

Remember when you were little, and you were told to paint in art class?

Filling in the colours on your art block paper took hours of meticulous work, effort and concentration.

Now imagine an art block paper the size of a block of flats - featuring a spectacular array of plants, gorgeous birds and a striking mix of colours.

It's hard to explain in words, but when you stand in front of the massive mural called Tree of Hope by artist Fadzlan Rizan Johani, you can almost feel the dedication put into it.

A daunting task

When speaking to Rojak Daily, Fadzlan said that it was a mammoth project which took him nine whole months to complete.

"When I first stood in front of the building, it was quite daunting. A lot of people thought that I would give up halfway, but I am so happy that I pushed on and completed it," he said.

In a more recent Facebook post, Fadzlan also wrote about the challenges when completing the mural including his anger with God for causing sudden downpours and even his frustration with his religion which required him to stop and pray five times a day.

"In the end of the day all these were just negative emotions that flooded in when I was exhausted," he said, while thanking God for giving him the patience to complete the project.

Other challenges included painting around surprising elements including clothes and undies that residents hung out to dry.

Fadzlan, who has been a part-time mural artist since 2014, said that he was relatively new to the scene but had a passion for the unique art form.

"After winning a mural competition organised by the Shah Alam City Council in 2014, there was no turning back," he said.

The winning start.

Bringing elements of nature into the concrete jungle

On the concept behind the design itself, Fadzlan said that he had come up with a few ideas which included a waterfront image, a nature-themed idea and the current tropical-themed motif.

"MRCB commissioned this, and they loved the tropical option. It also has a deeper meaning because Old Klang Road was previously an oil palm estate and so we wanted to move back to its roots a little.

"The mural features various palm oil trees, bamboo plants, colourful heliconia flowers and three birds including an owl which is my favourite," he said.

A labour of love

When asked about the most trickiest element to paint, Fadzlan laughed and exclaimed "the leaves on the palm oil trees!".

"I always try to pay as much attention to detail as possible. The shading and colours needed to fill in the many many tiny leaves on the tree was quite a challenge," he said.

Making friends along the way

Speaking about the whole experience, Fadzlan said that it was the friendships and the attachment to the community that he would remember the most.

"Everyone would come around and talk to me as I worked. Many would ask questions, and slowly I started to get familiar with the faces of the local community.

Reaching newer heights.

"As I got more comfortable with them, they got more comfortable with me as well," he said adding that that's when he started getting requests for small favours.

Because of the size of the mural, Fadzlan had to bring in a crane, and excited residents (especially those on the top floors) began asking him if he could help bring up a repairman to fix their broken aircond units and such.

"Of course it interrupted my work a little but I didn't mind. I tried to help whenever I could."

"I was also really touched when I got a lot of ang pow from residents especially during the recent Chinese New Year celebrations," he said.

An unexpected friendship was also made with the friendly neighbourhood dogs, Bobby and Rozy. Dawwwwww


Art takes time

Following the extensive media coverage on the Tree of Hope, Fadzlan now hopes that it can help drive a point - that art takes time.

"Besides working in Malaysia, I also worked in the UK, and the murals there take a long time to complete."

"The one thing I observed about Malaysians, however, is that we are quite impatient when it comes to seeing and enjoying the end results. We have to remember that art, at least good art, takes time," he said.

Not an easy task that can be rushed.

Fadzlan said works from renowned artists like Michaelangelo and the likes took years if not a whole lifetime to complete.

"We have many talented local artists here, but most of them are constrained by tight deadlines," he said, adding that rushed work definitely affects the final outcome.

Visit Tree Of Hope

To give you a rough estimation of how big the Tree of Hope mural really is, it took us close to two minutes to walk from one end of the mural to the other.

The mural is also the largest mural to be completed by one man in Malaysia so far.

If you're interested in viewing the Tree of Hope in person (it's free and looks fantastic), head to the Indah UPC block along Old Klang Road. (You can also use these coordinates : 3.104972,101.677565)

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