I am a Shah Alam guy. Shah Alam is the capital city for the state of Selangor after former capital, Kuala Lumpur, was made a Federal Territory and the capital city of Malaysia. I have lived here for 22 years and have seen how the city developed over times. Shah Alam is also where my alma mater, Universiti Teknologi MARA Malaysia (UiTM) is located. And now, Shah Alam has a new attraction: Laman Seni or loosely translated as Art Spot.
Click here to read on another attraction in Shah Alam: The Blue Mosque.
Laman Seni Shah Alam is located on the back lane of shop houses in Section 2, near UiTM’s Meranti Residential College. Section 2 is the meeting point for students of UiTM and a nearby secondary school to buy stationary, to do photocopy, binding, to surf the Internet at the various Internet cafes and to quench thirst by having a cup of slurpee from the 7-Eleven.
When I was still an undergraduate student, I always go to Section 2 by taking a public bus when I was staying inside the campus, by walking when I was staying at a residential college outside the campus, and by car when I was staying at a rented house. I have also taken the now-defunct mini buses every now and then back then.
And all these memories are encapsulated by the murals painted at Laman Seni, Shah Alam.
We should not compare the murals here to the ones painted by Ernest Zacharevic in Penang or the murals in Gopeng [read here] and the efforts shown and the outcome of the murals at Laman Seni should be commended. After all, it serves as a proof that art is still up and alive in Malaysia.
Besides, the existence of Laman Seni serves as the spot for artists to show their talent without being caught for vandalism. The best part for me personally about the murals here is the fact that most of the murals are connected to the locals. It tells the story of the place and its surrounding.
For me who had spent my 5 years at UiTM from foundation studies to my Bachelor degree, seeing murals which depict life at the area is like a silent journey down memory lane. Furthermore, this back lane previously was a dark and dirty lane, full with rubbish and rats. To see it becomes something beautiful and artsy was never in my mind before.
If by chance you are in Shah Alam, pay a visit to Laman Seni. After all, it is free. Treat it as an open air art gallery and you will enjoy your visit there.
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance” – Aristotle
Laman Seni Shah Alam is situated at Section 2 of Shah Alam, not far from the Shah Alam Lakes Gardens. If you are driving via the Federal Highway, take exit 212 towards the Shah Alam City Centre and exit to Section 2. If you are taking the bus or train from KL, disembark at Hentian Bas Pusat Bandar and Shah Alam KTM Station respectively and grab a taxi from there.
This article can also be read in Virtual Malaysia, #1 Malaysia Social Travel Channel.