07/04/2024 01:43 PM

By Nursyabiha Sukri

SEREMBAN, April 7 (Bernama) -- Featured prominently in numerous locations throughout Seremban city and other districts in Negeri Sembilan, the imaginative murals crafted by local artist Zoro, also known as Zakir Amir Mohd Derus, 58, effectively highlight the state's charm to visitors through his immersive paintings.

With his magical touch, he captures the essence of the state's unique cultural heritage rooted in the Minangkabau tradition, offering visitors a glimpse into the daily lives of the local residents.

Incorporating diorama or three-dimensional (3D) techniques, his murals depict local culture, traditional foods like dodol, lemang, and rendang maman, and provide visitors with social media worthy photo opportunities. 

Active in mural art since 2017, this Negeri Sembilan native street artist feels a sense of duty to contribute something meaningful, thus he chose to leverage his talent to manifest the uniqueness of his homestate.

"I started as a street artist, painting 50 to 60 customer portraits during one event. Murals take a longer time of course," he said.

"The murals I’ve done in Jelebu are special to me because it’s my hometown. So the murals are more unique. For example. the 'Pesona Jelebu,' mural features the biodiversity, eco-tourism, customs, and culture of the district," he told Bernama recently.

The father of four has created over 30 murals in the state, through commissions from kindergartens, eateries, and factories, gradually gaining the recognition and trust to collaborate with the district council.

Apart from Jelebu, his works can also be seen around Seremban, Kuala Pilah, and Rembau, including at the Terminal Satu public transportation hub, Benteng Walk, and the 152-metre-long wall facing Jalan Yam Tuan.

In Rembau, there is a mural featuring six Rembau native national athletes: Nur Herman (track and field), Azman Adnan (football), Farid Rahman (rugby), Hizlee Abdul Rais (lawn bowls), Norazura Mod Zin (petanque), and Talib Ahmad (sepak takraw).

"On average, it takes approximately two months to complete a mural, factoring in weather conditions and necessary cleanup work,” he said. 

"Alhamdulillah, the local council is pleased with my artistic endeavours. It brings me joy to see both visitors and the local community appreciating the art and sharing pictures on social media," he expressed, adding, however, that it was disheartening when sometimes irresponsible individuals vandalise the murals, necessitating touch ups. 

Reflecting on his inherited painting talent, the former student of Sekolah Menengah Agama Ampangan revealed that he and his eight siblings inherited artistic skills from their late father, Mohd Derus Yaakob, but he is the only one who pursued it seriously, transforming it into a viable source of income.

Upon completing high school, he embarked on journeys across different states to garner experience as a street artist, refining his abilities as a portrait painter.

Zakir's artworks are also exhibited and sold at the Ozzi Art Gallery, Seremban 2, with prices ranging from RM50 to RM17,200.

He also mentioned his ongoing collaboration with the Seremban City Council to create murals in Lorong Seni, featuring a 'childhood fantasy' theme, after Hari Raya Aidilfitri.




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