A shocked Malaysian artist ‘hurt’ her tiger sculptures in Chinatown
the Malayan tiger family Alice Chang’s sculptures, depicting a pair of parent tigers caring for their cub, were intended to highlight the importance of saving the Malayan tiger.
But the message appears to have fallen on deaf ears with repeated damage caused by visitors to the Tiger Family facility at Kwai Chai Hong in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown. The installation was unveiled on January 13.
On three occasions since launch, CCTV footage has captured individuals attempting to climb onto the sculptures and sit on them in order to “ride” the tigers. These irresponsible actions have caused cracks, chips and damage to the tiger sculptures, which are made from recycled broken tiles, plaster, wire mesh and metal frame.
Chang says she was “more shocked than angry” about the recent incident last weekend when she first found out.
“I was wondering how it happened and who would do such a thing?” Chang said.
But with the repeated “hurts” of the tigers, Chang reveals she felt a mix of emotions – sad, disappointed, angry and then curious – about why people would do this.
“Kwai Chai Hong’s team and I met quickly to resolve this issue and I’m glad we all decided to turn this lesson to educate the public instead.”
The tigers were bandaged to show the consequences of the public’s irresponsible act. In addition, a guard was posted nearby to deter future incidents, and a “natural barricade” consisting of boulders, stones, fallen tree trunks and branches was recently added to the perimeter of the sculpture. Additional signage had also been placed at the installation site.
“With this injury, we realized it wasn’t just about fixing it and moving on. It’s a lack of education and exposure to public art.
“Letting people see a sculpture of a ‘wounded’ tiger with a bandage will trigger a stronger reaction. It is no longer pristine or perfect now due to irresponsible human actions.
“Visuals like this have more impact. I hope it will inspire people to think before they act around artwork,” Chang offers.
“The task fell to us to convert this negative experience into something impactful – to educate people to respect public art. In fact, we’ve chosen to call it a ‘wound’ in order to emphasize how deeply irresponsible human actions can impact a non-living work of art, let alone our Malayan Tigers.” , explains Zeen Chang, managing partner of Bai Chuan Management.
All proceeds from the sale of the Malayan Tiger Family sculptures will be donated to WWF-Malaysia’s tiger conservation efforts.
The Live Wild And Prosper art installation is open to the public until February 20, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Free entry.
Respect for public art continues to be a broader issue in Malaysia, involving better education and awareness of art.
In August 2019, the Bakat Muda Sezaman (Young Contemporaries) exhibition at the National Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur made headlines seeing several works by local artists such as Mesita Jee Mei-Jane, Samsudin Wahab, Ho Mei Kei, Haffendi Anuar and Muhamad Nizar Sulaiman damaged by gallery visitors.
At this National Art Gallery exhibition, members of the public walked over Mesita’s installation work and broke the mirror, people sat on Haffendi’s sculptures, Muhamad’s installation with a group of fans booth was moved around to fit the perfect Instagram photo and Samsudin’s rustic setup saw people trying to climb the ladder featured in the award-winning piece.