What’s a charming little Malaysian city without street art? Following in the footsteps of Penang and Melaka, Ipoh is similarly decorated with colourful scenes on the sides of random buildings, sprucing up otherwise dull and crumbling walls.
Mural Art’s Lane is often confused with the Ipoh Mural Art Trail. The Mural Arts Trail refers to a self-guided tour of Ipoh’s street art that takes you all over Oldtown. Mural Art’s Lane is just one stop on that multi-point tour.
Mural Art’s Lane isn’t even a street, but an unnamed back alley in between Jalan Sultan Iskandar and Jalan Masjid. Thus, online resources have a hard time placing this attraction. Instagram doesn’t even have the proper location available for tagging, and the Google Maps pin is at the intersection of Jalan Masjid and Jalan Datuk Onn Jaafar.
The actual “entrance” to Mural Art’s Lane is slightly north on Jalan Datuk Onn Jaafar. You’ll know you’ve found it when you see this adorable dog face.
Mural Art’s Lane is much quieter than the street art locales of Georgetown. The good thing about all this street art being concentrated in one place is that if someone is hogging the piece of art you want to take a photo of, just mosey on down the lane and check out the other works until it becomes clear.
The art extends quite a ways to the other end of Mural Arts Lane, which is next to the Masjid Panglima Kinta. There are also short offshoot alleys leading to the main roads that will have more street art on them.
You’ll see the artist signature Eric Lai on many of the pieces on Mural Art’s Lane. A local art teacher, Lai is responsible for launching Mural Art’s Lane back in 2013. Quite literally leaving his mark on Ipoh, he has turned what was once an ugly alley into the tourist attraction that it is today. He still maintains the lane, him and his art students touching up or adding new works.
Taking inspiration from Ernest Zacharevic, whose Penang street art is famous and even has some works here in Ipoh (most recognizable is “Uncle Drinking Coffee” on Jalan Bandar), Eric Lai’s art similarly features Malaysian heritage but some are random, playful pieces like the origami dog face at the entrance.
The street art on Ipoh’s Mural Art’s Lane doesn’t have the “interactivity” that Penang’s street art has. There are no props like chairs or bicycles where you can insert yourself into the scene, so you’ll have to be creative. The street art makes for a pretty picture all the same.