What was supposed to be a painting of three fully clothed women adorning the wall outside an art gallery in Sungai Buloh became the subject of ire among conservatives who called it pornographic when the artwork wasn’t even finished.
The mural for the Sasaran Art Gallery by local artists, including Lyana Leong and The Sliz, now shows three women holding hands and fully dressed in white, according to photos posted online. The figures looked modest as compared to the full naked display that was captured in viral photos of the unfinished version, which have been reported to the police for promoting obscene content.
“As an artist of the mural, I drew the three naked women based on my experience, as it is only the first layer. After that, I would have painted them with clothes,” Leong explained her artistic process on Instagram yesterday.
She maintains that there has been a misunderstanding since the viral photo of naked women was showing an unfinished version of the mural. She had removed a black cloth meant to cover the mural and walked away from it to view from a distance and check for imperfections, she said.
“Unfortunately, in the 30 minutes we took off the cloth, people around us had already taken photos [of the mural] and posted it on social media,” she said. Police said on Monday that the artists were accused of promoting obscene content and committing mischief under Section 233 and Section 427 of the Penal Code.
“While we understand that the mural is still incomplete, we will continue to record statements from those involved, including the artists,” Kuala Selangor police representative Ramli Kasa told the press yesterday.
Critics lashed out at the artwork on Monday, including some that called it pornographic.
“Which race or religion in Malaysia would be so accepting of a pornographic mural painted in public view?” one of the critics wrote on Facebook.
“So shameful! What is happening to Malaysia?” another said.
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This article, No more nudity: Artists add finishing touches to Sungai Buloh’s naked mural, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.