Arts & CultureFeaturedLIFESTYLE

Bring Life to the City with The Light Project Ipoh 

Locals may have stumbled upon colourful glass pillars nearby Medan Selera Dato’ Tahwil Azhar. The beauty you witnessed is the masterwork of Liu Cheng Hua, our renowned homegrown artist, who was born and bred in Taiping. 

Liu Cheng Hua

Organised by CENDANA (Cultural Economy Development Agency) jointly with Think City, The Light Project is the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM’s) effort to bring life to the night city under the PEMULIH programme. The Ipoh City Council (MBI) has also chipped in and is part of the team. 

The pandemic has already taken shape in our lives, dulling our senses and leaving people unmotivated as the route ahead becomes harder to drive. Many people found themselves in despair as they couldn’t see a way out of the tangled mess. 

Hence, the art installations and curated outreach programmes, aimed to keep cities alive during the pandemic, will inspire and give hope to wider arts and culture to communities and the public. As we rise from the chaotic events, conversations can be stimulated and job opportunities created for local artists, cultural workers, production crew and fabricators.

Only featured in several cities and Ipoh being one of the lucky ones, you will see the lights illuminating the city for another two months as the project will wrap up in the last week of March. Some other fortunate cities are Butterworth, Melaka, Batu Pahat and Kuching. 

Picture sourced from The Light Project Ipoh Facebook page

Want to know what’s in the glass blocks?

Each art installation highlights a different theme and as for our city, Liu Cheng Hua showcases the clock towers in Perak where he digitised paintings and projected them through 1,568 pieces of glass blocks. 

The project employs 100 percent green energy as the lights are powered by solar energy. The light will automatically turn on when the sky is dark and switch off during the daytime for recharging.

How many clock towers are there in Perak?

There are nine: JWW Birch Memorial Tower, Menara Jam Kampar, Dataran Ipoh, Sungai Siput, Kuala Kangsar, Parit Buntar, Menara Jam Taiping, Teluk Intan and Menara Jam Lama Taiping. If you have heard of all of them, give yourself a pat on the back! 

The Light Project titled ‘Pride #3’ is a continuation of Liu’s ‘Pride of the Portrait’ series which began in 2010. The whole idea is to portray that the multiple lockdowns have stopped time. 

Photo sourced from BASKL

According to Liu, the concept has a sentimental value to him. His first encounter with glass bricks was during his childhood at his grandmother’s home in Taiping. Growing up, he understood that the practical side of glass bricks is that one does not need to rely on artificial light to brighten a room because natural light can be brought into the home through glass bricks. 

When it comes to making art, the artist takes inspiration from the play of lights.

“Pride #3 gives a new breath, new hope, new life, and new inspiration to bring everyone together via this meaningful light art installation, to learn about time and the pride of the nation. We chose Medan Selera Dato’ Tahwil as it’s a crowd-favourite among the locals and visitors. It’s a ‘place of the people’, where people can have their meals at the food court, let their kids spend time at the playground and walk around the famous Gerbang Malam.

“Currently, the MBI is upgrading the food court facilities and the city council is keen on encompassing arts and culture as a way to activate public spaces and provide opportunities for the development of creative economy,” the multi-disciplinary artist who produced various major installation works said. 

He further told Ipoh Echo that apart from stimulating the local economy via arts and culture, this project is to call attention to artists and arts across the country and strive to inspire collaborations of local arts and culture. 

No need to cram your head wondering where to ‘chill’, because you just found the perfect place to hang out. Keep an eye on their art workshops which will be held on alternate weeks as part of the project’s outreach programmes. They’re free and everyone is welcome to join! Decide fast, as seats are limited. 

Check out the Light Project’s Facebook page for more details. You can also visit their Instagram page.

If you’d like to download the Light Project booklet, here you go: 


Gisele Soo


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