Politics and painting: new museum in KL a must-visit

Ur-Mu 2 features the artworks of Pakhruddin Sulaiman and Tan Loke Mun. (Moganraj Villavan @ FMT Lifestyle)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian art scene is vibrant, with many locals showing great creative promise. And what better way to see this for yourself than by visiting museums that showcase local artists, old and new.

One such museum is Ur-Mu, or the Urban Museum, located in Bukit Bintang. This museum is already on the to-do-list of many a tourist, with its unique concept and fascinating design.

Ur-Mu 2 was established after positive response to the first museum in Bukit Bintang. (Moganraj Villavan @ FMT Lifestyle)

As it happens, this very same museum now has a sibling, the aptly-named Ur-Mu @ Toffee, this one located along the bustling Jalan Raja Chulan.

The museum resides within The Toffee, a seven-storey art deco building whose launch in the 1950s was officiated by Tunku Abdul Rahman, the country’s first prime minister.

Ur-Mu 2 is located on the fifth and sixth floors of the building. The fifth floor features the works of artists collected by Tan Loke Mun, the architect and founder of Ur-Mu while the sixth floor features the art collection of the lawyer Pakhruddin Sulaiman, a well-known figure in the art scene.

Ur-Mu 2 opened in late May this year. (Moganraj Villavan @ FMT Lifestyle)

Visitors to Ur-Mu 2 are required to pay an entry fee of RM20, with seniors, students and the disabled paying only RM10. Children may enter free.

At present, the museum houses over 200 artworks, mostly by Malaysian artists as well as a handful of foreign creatives.

Level Six, called the Collection of Pakha Sulaiman, features several largely post-modern artworks, including paintings and sculptures.

The highlight of this art collection has to be the section dedicated to the works of artist Ahmad Fuad Osman.

His art piece, “Recollections of Long Lost Memories”, is a rather creative and amusing take on Malaysian history.

In fact, this artwork was made in 2007 to commemorate the country’s 50th year of independence, with the artist wishing to highlight just how far Malaysia has come.

Hung on a wall are black and white photographs taken throughout iconic moments in the country’s history, albeit with a twist.

One highlight here is a collection of edited historical photographs by Ahmad Fuad Osman. (Moganraj Villavan @ FMT Lifestyle)

A quick glance and you can spot an out-of-place (and coloured) modern Malaysian man bumbling his way throughout history. It is a fun little activity keeping an eye out for this oddity, while being a good way of looking back at how Malaysia used to be in the past.

This part of the museum also features a rather poignant display – portraits of Pakhruddin and his late wife, Fatimah. And close by are the same seats in which they posed for their respective portraits, acting as something of a memorial to their everlasting love.

Downstairs is Tan’s collection. These have a contemporary vibe, with some being rather lifelike and others whimsical.

Several artworks by Red Hong Yi are on display, interestingly made using soil. (Moganraj Villavan @ FMT Lifestyle)

One of the highlights here has to be Red Hong Yi’s artworks, which were created using soil! The artworks are a stirring tribute to Malaysia’s men in uniform, commemorating their sacrifices.

According to gallery manager Aiman Saror, Ur-Mu 2 was opened after the positive response to the first Ur-Mu in Bukit Bintang.

“We think that the audience really wants to see more of the first Ur-Mu. They kept asking if there is another place like this and so this is a response to the demand.”

Likewise, the location, he said, was chosen as this part of Kuala Lumpur is the most emblematic of the city’s history and culture.

The museum, he said, is open to all but will most likely be of interest to aspiring artists and curious university students.

Ur-Mu @ Toffee, Raja Chulan
2, Jalan Raja Chulan
City Centre
50100 Kuala Lumpur
WP Kuala Lumpur

Operating hours: 10am-8.30pm (Closed on Mondays)

Tickets: https://ur-mu.com/


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