A mischievous feline balances itself on the apex of a roof while another zips across a multicoloured sky on a magical broomstick. One perches on a windowsill and another rests atop a moon, overlooking the adventures of its friends below.
These are only a few of the nine cats gallivanting around the cheerful setting created by artist Poesy Liang, who was commissioned to paint a 105ft x 35ft mural along Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur as part of a corporate social responsibility initiative by Chubb Insurance Malaysia Berhad.
Titled Victory, the mural is the latest incarnation of the artist’s signature Rooftop Cats series. Quirky details aside, the vivid painting aims to pass on a message of aspiration and leadership.
“This public mural is the kind of breakthrough I’ve been waiting for,” she says. Using the characteristics of a cat as an analogy, Liang explains how the curious creatures are often unafraid to scale new heights and how such attributes are also found in fearless leaders. “When it is important enough, we risk comfort to uphold integrity — reaching for the top, giving our all to achieve tall dreams, aiming high, making a stand for what is right and doing good in spite of danger and inevitable loneliness.
"Someone who chases their dreams may not find understanding easily but they will meet other dreamers."
Liang started Rooftop Cats back in 2011. The next year, she was confronted with a series of difficult health challenges. “The roof of my art studio started to decay and I was financially strapped to make repairs due to medical bills,” she shares. “My mental health declined very rapidly.”
Her roof eventually gave way but then appeared a small tuxedo cat, who made her days better by distracting her with its amusing antics. She named him Harry Putter and he became her dear companion. The cat often appeared in her street art after that. It is featured multiple times in the new facade at Jalan Pudu.
He is portrayed with two of her other white cats, Dot Dot and Miss China — the latter unfortunately passed away a few months ago and now sits thoughtfully on the moon in the artwork.
The mural was completed in the course of one week with the assistance of two other artists, Drewfunk (Andrew Yeoh) and Nestwo (Edmund Yew). However, due to bad weather conditions, the crew had to pull gruelling 10 to 12-hour shifts. A film documentary about the production will be released in the near future. “It was all worth it,” says the relieved Liang, who celebrated her 47th birthday on the last day.
“My perfectionist streak won’t ever be done and you will probably find me on site at some point, with a paint brush to dot more eyes and cross more tees at eye level,” she jokes. “Good thing is, I won’t have access to a boom lift anymore to enable my madness above ground.”
Liang hopes her artwork can touch the hearts of others. “With flying colours, may we find victory in all the big and small details in our lives.”
Check out Liang's mural at 175, Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur.