Seeing Green at 1 Mont Kiara

Recycled Art Contest Attracts Hundreds to Submit Artwork

Kuala Lumpur, 24 March 2023 – Great art doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, some of the greatest art displayed at 1 Mont Kiara over the weekend would have headed towards a landfill, but it was the sheer ingenuity of over 100 individuals who saw the potential in the trash that birthed the H.O.P.E. Recycled Art Exhibition, which showcased some of the most spellbinding creations from its namesake contest.

A call for entries was issued earlier in February, and though the submission list remained small at the beginning, 132 individuals ultimately responded to the summons and submitted their art pieces by the 8 March deadline. The overwhelming response necessitated an expansion of the subsequent art exhibition at 1 Mont Kiara, taking over much of the mall’s atrium space on the ground floor to display the myriad of collages, sculptures, figurines, and dioramas, all created from materials that no one would ever imagine saving.

“It was a difficult task picking the Top 70 submissions to be displayed, which was supposed to have been the Top 50,” remarked Ryan Fong, Senior Executive for Advertising & Promotions at 1 Mont Kiara. “There were just too many good designs to choose from, and many of these came with inspiring messages on preserving the planet, so we had to settle with just 70.”

Walking away with the top prize of RM400 in cash and prizes was 28-year-old Yue Sin Yee, who submitted a woven bag made from recyclable fabric, plastic, and paper. The bag, though beautiful and intricate in its mosaic of colours, carries an equally chilling message as represented in a cardboard cutout of a child crying in the bag: don’t let our children live with trash. It’s no wonder why the artist decided to name this “The Drowning Child”, as the image of how society is always walking around with disposable items in their bags would only contribute to an unpalatable future should we don’t stop and ponder upon the simple decisions we make when it comes to waste. 

Equally impressive were the robotic toy figurine conceptualised by first runner-up Max Lenon Anak Lulas (42) and the charming recycling truck made out of cardboard by second runner-up Aria Tang (37). The former was made from a combination of household waste, broken stationery, and used car accessories, showcasing the artist’s talent in transforming large waste into a small, collectible figurine. On the other hand, Aria Tang’s submission is an exemplar of how even the most common waste materials found around the home or office can be made into a reminder of the most important and noblest responsibility we have as human beings.

Other intriguing finds at the art exhibition include a cardboard DMC DeLorean in the style of its appearance in the Back to the Future franchise, a chrome-coloured lifesize Predator mask from the Predator movies, a “carton cafe” diorama carved completely out of cardboard parcels and milk cartons, and an elaborate aluminium tin can figurine of the character Saber from the Fate/stay night visual novel. 

“It’s quite common to hear a local bemoan the lack of art galleries in Malaysia, but it is exhibitions like this that truly showcase much of what our local talent has to offer. Most of these submissions aren’t even from renowned artists!” commented Fong.

March at 1 Mont Kiara is usually dedicated to commemorating Earth Hour, which falls on 25 March this year, under the banner of H.O.P.E. (“Helping Our Planet Everyday”). In addition to the Recycled Art Contest & Exhibition, the mall was also the stage for upcycling arts & crafts workshops, plant-a-tree workshops, an e-waste disposal corner, a coffee ground collection corner, an aluminium tab collection corner, and interactive game booths. The H.O.P.E. mascot, Mr. Plasticman also made his rounds around the mall exchanging eco-friendly tote bags for plastic ones.