SHAH ALAM, July 6 — The wall on the side of a building in Taman Cahaya Alam, Seksyen U12 here which used to be heavily vandalised with graffiti has now been replaced with a giant art ‘exibit’ featuring the faces of the country’s leaders.
Portraits of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah are among the faces adorning the wall of the building, painted by a mural artist who goes by the name ‘Miey Ali’.
Initially, Miey Ali whose real name is Muhammad Suhaimi Ali, 27, only intended to beautify the area. He had no idea that his artwork would get such a warm response and become a hit making the rounds on social media.
Assisted by his friends, Abdul Hadi Ramli, 27, and Firdaus Nordin, 26, the artist who hails from Kampung Telaga Daing, Kuala Nerus, Terengganu, only took two weeks to paint five mural portraits on the wall.
The youngest of seven siblings said he had originally only intended to paint the mural portrait of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as a token of gratitude for the monarch’s wisdom in addressing and resolving the political crisis in February.
“But during the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) starting from March 18, we saw many other leaders constantly providing the latest updates and planning strategies to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. So these faces also appeared on the mural.
“This is how my friends and I express our gratitude towards the country’s leaders and the frontliners because when the COVID-19 outbreak first hit the country, they were the ones who had so much to do to make sure the people were protected from the infection,” he told Bernama today.
Portraits of Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Senator Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri are also immortalised on the wall, which has become an attraction for members of the public who want to see the paintings with their own eyes after the young man’s work went viral.
Muhammad Suhaimi who graduated in Fine Arts from Universiti Teknologi Mara, Shah Alam, said he only spent around RM500 on drawing materials and paints to complete all the five portraits.
The full-time mural artist said he felt honoured when the public started visiting the housing area in order to capture memories by taking pictures with the mural and described it as a tribute to his work with his friends.
“The area where the mural is, is not known to many people since it is quite hidden but I have had people (contacting me via) Whatsapp just to know the location. I was deeply touched when there were people who came from (as far as) Johor just to snap photos with our painting,” he said.
To date, Muhammad Suhaimi has painted more than 200 murals nationwide since he first dabbled in the art four years ago.
Asked about his immediate plans, the young artist said he planned to paint other personalities in his mural portraits, among whom are famous artistes like the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee, actor and comedian Datuk Aziz Sattar and S. Shamsuddin, if he has the space and time.