Most weekends, parking lots tend to be vacant unless at one of the overabundant shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur. Then again, most weekends do not have a graffiti competition either. Possibly the first official “graffiti” competition was hosted at Balai Seni Negara (the National Art Gallery) and sponsored by Antabax. The Antabax POWER event Sunday, September 10th brought together an irregular crowd to see what they hype was about. With out a doubt, the highlight was the graffiti comp. To be selected was already a tough online competition for participation between hundreds of applicants.
What’s been dubbed as “Antabax POWER, Live Graffiti Battle 2017” was themed around ‘Malaysia Day.’ The selected key words as hashtags are #Negaraku and #sayangmalaysia. Mr. Francis Ng, Senior General Manager, Household & Personal Care Department, Marketing Division, Lam Soon Edible Oils Sdn Bhd said: “The Antabax POWER campaign celebrates what makes Malaysia a unique nation through the spirit and power of its people. The interpretation of what makes Malaysia potent may differ but the underlying feeling and power is there.” This was a family friendly function that waxed nostalgiac pairing traditional childhood school games with a typical graffiti competition. Personally, I find it difficult to
create a competition on anything so subjective as art, and the point of “graffiti” is to be everywhere. In this case, the stand out winner was Antabax. Branding was predominant as all the prizes from Juara POWER Antabax games, lucky draws and goodie bags were naturally Antabax products. I don’t imagine too many kids getting excited about winning hand sanitizer or shampoo, but there are probably some out there.
Most certainly, the highlight of the event was the graffiti comp. At least for those that painted on the 14 8’ x 8’ panels. They specifically selected 14 panels to be reflective of the 14 states of Malaysia, although the artists and imagery were not necessarily representative of those states. Some of the artists did travel far distances, such as Fattah Shahari who self-funded a 5-hour bus ride to take part. When asked why he highlighted the lack of events such as these in Malaysia and his interest to compete and network with other artist’s practicing in the aerosol medium. The panel of judges included National Art Gallery, Chief Curator, En Majidi Amir, Senior Curator, En Bakhtiar Naim Jaafar; Lam Soon Edible Oils Senior Product Manager, Household & Personal Care, Ms. Mandy Lee and Malaysian graffiti artists, Bee and Bone Alfie.
The winner of the competition was Mohd Zulfadli Bin Ahmad Nawawi, aka Akid1 with EscapeVA second and the 3 Serangkai team in third. Cash prizes were awarded alongside Antabax hampers and aerosol paint. Colors and themes present definitely followed the Malaysian vibe, which is quite a widely diverse collection of communities.
Quotes from the top three winners:
“The theme of POWER Malaysia fits well into my work as I regularly explore the uniqueness of Malaysia in my work. I appreciate the prize money, which is considerable! My thanks to Antabax and the National Art Gallery for giving graffiti artists a platform to reach a wider audience with our work, and with our positive message!” – Akid1
“The Antabax graffiti live battle to be completed in just 3.5 hours was challenging, but it gives us the type of high-stakes, high-energy exposure we need to take our output to the next level. For those who believe in me – I’m exhibited at the National Art Gallery! Come see my work here until mid-October.” – EscapeVA
“It is great to see graffiti and graffiti artist like us getting recognized for our work, which is all over Malaysia but seldom in formal galleries. Antabax values our work and gaining the graffiti community a bigger platform to showcase our skill, technique and capabilities.” – 3 Serangkai
Check out the pieces of work done by all the participants down below!
Words & Images by: Charlie McKan