Penang’s Komtar aims for world’s tallest mural

komtar-muralGEORGE TOWN: Penang’s iconic Komtar building will feature the world’s tallest mural by year end, thanks to an ambitious effort to get into international record books by the company running the mall and its rooftop restaurant.

From the bottom up, the mural will feature three Penang dragon boats, the iconic George Town-Butterworth ferry, the Penang Bridge, drawings of Penang folk and heritage building window panes. It will be topped off with a drawing of the sky and a rainbow.

Supported by the Penang government, the Only World Group (OWG) will sponsor five mural artists who will paint over the metal facade of what was supposed to be a bubble lift, spanning the height of the building.

The metal canvas extends about 13 metres, which means the artists will have to paint over a surface of nearly 3,000 square metres.

The 230-metre mural will comprise four collages showing the essence of Penang – skies, architecture, people and the sea.

It will make full use of Komtar’s massive height and is slated for completion in six months’ time at the cost of approximately RM300,000. Nippon Paint has pledged to sponsor RM30,000 in paint.

The artists will work five days a week, eight hours a day on the mural, which will take nearly 1,000 hours of work in total. Painting will start “any time soon”, organisers say.

Komtar has been the tallest building in the state since its completion in 1985. It was initially 232 metres tall with 65 storeys. After renovation in 2015, OWG added a rooftop eatery and “sky deck”, raising it to 68 floors and bringing its height to 249 metres.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the new mural would further revitalise the landmark.

“The mural will be a visual symbol of Penang’s intrinsic strengths – our beautiful people and rich heritage, and the immense potential that lies ahead for us,” he said.

When asked about the bubble lift project which was supposed to provide a panoramic view of the North Channel, Lim said the project had been scrapped due to height concerns by the fire department.

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OWG chief executive officer Richard Koh said the company hoped to beat the current mural record of 70 metres in the Guinness World Book of Records.

“We hope this will make Penang awesome and bright and put Malaysia in the world map,” he said in a press conference here today.

One of the five artists, Falah Naim, said it would be the experience of a lifetime for the group.

He said they would spend eight hours a day for the next six months suspended on two gondolas, working their way up.

“We are not sure if we are afraid of heights, but this project is the only way to tell,” said Falah, whose stage name is IMMJN (pronounced “Imagine”).

IMMJN and four others – Bibichun, The Sliz, Kangblabla and Sattama – are award-winning artists with experience in painting large-scale murals in Shanghai, Singapore, Taiwan and the Philippines.

Nippon Paint Malaysia group marketing assistant general manager Alex Yoong Choong Kheong said the artists would be provided with 2,000 Pylox spray cans for the project.

He told FMT that a range of 106 colours would be available, adding that the materials were environmentally friendly.

“At least 800 litres of paint would be used in the project. We are very excited to see the outcome,” Yoong said.