addison karl

This month CULTURE360 contributor David Fernandez travels to George Town, Penang, the historic city of the Straits of Malacca in Malaysia. In this article he describes the current panorama of contemporary arts & cultural heritage, focusing mainly on the creative platforms that are aiming to become the catalysts for city change.

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This year’s Urban Xchange Festival will see more than six murals and sculptures located
around George Town and Butterworth.

The two-week streets art festival kicks off on October 31 and will showcase
work by nine Malaysian and six foreign artists.

Other works, especially the Artisan Project, will be displayed in the Hin Bus Depot.

“This year, we have more local artists participating as compared to last year’s UX,”
said festival curator Gabija Grusaite.

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A four-storey high art installation in the shape of a 12-sided star will be
launched as part of this year’s Urban Xchange (UX) Festival.

The international public art festival is back for the second year to bring more murals to the state along with other works including the UX: Artisan Project and this large scale art installation by young Malaysian artist Ong Jun Hao.

Touted to be the biggest art installation in Malaysia, the star-shaped installation will be
placed within the concrete superstructure of a building along
Jalan Raja Uda in Seberang Perai.

Ong, who goes by Jun Ong, created the site-specific installation as the main highlight
for this year’s UX.

The 27-year-old architect will be making the one-of-its-kind installation with close to 500 metres of steel cables and LED strips, producing an abstract light installation of steel simply called “The Star.”

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Nafir is a street artist based in Iran and interestingly creates mostly stencils on a number of Tehran walls.
Witty, motivating and direct – his style just speaks out for its self! 

The eloquent street artist admits to having a double life — one as a common Iranian with a normal day job and another, at night, as an illegal street artist who goes around showcasing his artistic masterpieces in public spaces.

Barely a day goes by without him spray-painting a piece of art and these are not graffitti but pieces that express his feelings about certain incidents in Tehran. Even though his works are usually erased by the Iranian authorities within a 24-hour period, Nafir continues on with what he calls his fight against oppression.

The artist now has a huge online following so he is extremely careful about keeping his identity secret, he has never granted any interviews with any media nearer to home and his self portrait is a stencil man with a large X on the face.



DTFD has been documenting life in 35mm format for the last ten years.
Inspired by the intensity of directors such as Stanley Kubrick and Paul Thomas Anderson,
he conveys a narrative to the audience with a single frame. Samuel enjoys creating
a raw connection between his subject matter and the viewer. His intent is to
imprint on the subconscious, leaving a message and feeling ingrained within.

His most recent works examine the inequalities and diversities we all see in society,
with hopes of creating discussions and widening individual perceptions.

“We see inequality everyday, and i hope to get people talking and becoming
more aware of each other on a long term. By displaying how beautiful other
people are, and how connected we all can be,
I think we can all see a global change in consciousness.”


UX 2014


Louise Low, a Malaysian artist aspires to bring about improvement to the stature of women in society. With an aim to produce artworks that depicts determination, perseverance and optimism, she look into the past to construct the future in what she perceives as a modern society that accepts women as equal partners.

mirror boat


Jun Ong is an architect-artist based in KL. He have just returned from London after architectural studies/work and decided to pursue a new path in the arts realm. Being in Europe for two years was an incredible learning curve for hi, and has allowed him to experiment his ideas across various mediums and platforms.

‘Personally, I have not seen many lighting installations inspired by KL or Penang and also displayed in an urban context and I think this would be an interesting and unique experience for Malaysians. People were intrigued with the piece as it also flickers selectively, becoming a performance piece at the same time. The nature and size of the installation also creates a eye-level interaction with the audience, while being able to illuminate a vast area of space albeit small in size.’




Jesús Moreno’s (a.k.a. YES) has been highly evolving through painting. Rising from graffiti and autodidactic methods; always being inspired by the 20th Century masters of painting and the 2000s colourful graffiti. He focus on geometry, shapes, colours and the connections between them.



yes m




Sabek is a Spanish street artist, based in Madrid. He paints alone or with friends, sometimes adding a sentence to his artwork. Sabek has become in the last years a key actor in the Spanish street art scene, painting figures inspired by nature.

‘I just like to paint, I do not like classifications. I paint a lot more on the streets than in my studio, in fact, I have few pieces of artwork. I started at 16, scribbling my name on the walls, just for fun, it gradually took hold of me. Everything inspires me, daily stuff, but very often some unstable or difficult moments of my life, they really stimulates my mind. Many, usually I paint animals, linked or being in themselves a black mass, pyramids, skulls. I gave shape to my art while my art was giving shape to me, today it’s a big part of my life.‘