More paper cut-outs appear in JB

JOHOR BARU - Cut-outs of the Lego characters that were "removed" by the Johor Baru City Council have been plastered on walls in several locations here.

Aside the disused wall in Taman Molek where a so-called offensive graffiti by Lithuanian-born artist Ernest Zacharevic first appeared, the paper cut-outs are now seen on the walls of nearby empty shop houses.

Similar cut-outs have also ap­­peared in an alley in Jalan Maju, the city's "newspaper street" where several offices and bureaus of the media and publication distributing agencies are located.

Some of the cut-outs, printed to the exact size of the original painting, could be seen pasted on walls in the city centre.

However, a sticker on the wall outside the Chinese cultural museum in Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, in the heart of the city, was found torn down and trashed in a nearby dumpster.

Eric Ku, 42, who brought his family to pose with the cut-outs, said they were disappointed to find the sticker of the woman character missing from the wall when they went there at around 8.30am yesterday.

"I then noticed a crumpled sticker in a pile of rubbish behind the wall. So, I smoothed it out and pasted it back onto the wall.

"My children did not get the chance to see the original painting in Taman Molek so I decided to stop by and take photos of them with the cut-outs after having our breakfast," he said.

Graphic designer Yeoh Jen Han, 24, said he liked the original painting as it was a good expression of creativity but felt that the cut-outs would create a nuisance.

"I think people are pasting the cut-outs to express their unhappiness with the whitewash of the painting. But if they did not seek Zacharevic's permission before printing and pasting the images in public, it is an infringement to the artist's work," he said.

The original wall art featured a young woman carrying a Chanel handbag and a hooded knife-wielding man around the corner, supposedly waiting to pounce on her.

While it drew a lot of attention and admirers from even across the causeway, the city council felt it was giving a negative picture of the city.

A local artist then added his touch of creativity to Zacharevic's work with a painting of a policeman carrying a pair of handcuffs ready to catch the crooked character.

Still not amused, the council sent its workers to Taman Molek and erased the graffiti with white paint, drawing criticism among city folk and Internet users.

Hours later, paper cut-outs of the graffiti characters appeared at the whitewashed spot.

City council workers moved in again to tear down the stickers, but more cut-outs have since appeared.

Council public relations officer Aziz Ithnin, when contacted, said he would bring the matter to the attention of the mayor and the council for them to decide on further action on the cut-outs.