But the creative lot managed to work creatively around, or even on, the bare bricks and wires.
Despite a hole in the wall, Leong Chee Siong’s thriving plant with heart-shaped leaves was an eyecatching piece.
“Let’s use love to protect heritage,” he said.
Icons that represented Chinatown and the nation in general — heritage buildings, the national flower and the Jalur Germilang — were favourite subjects for the artists.
Lee Wey Fatt, who decided on a pre-war shoplot, said he felt strongly about the historical buildings that had witnessed the social and economic changes in the area.
“Coffee shops and shops selling rice and cloth have now been replaced by accessories wholesalers,” he said.
While most artists created artworks that best represented their feelings for Jalan Sultan, some preferred to express their thoughts through words. Zainal Abidin Musa roped in his wife, Anis Rozalina Ramli, to pen a few poems along the theme at around 2am, just hours before the event started.
The chosen one started with an emotional plea, “Let me stay a while longer; for I am not yet ready to go.”
By painting the words on a pillar, Zainal said it was as if the building was talking to those who cared to stop and read.
Mat Ramli Mansor, or more popularly known as Awie, painted a portait of Kapitan Yap Ah Loy as a tribute to the great leader who contributed to the development of Kuala Lumpur.
Each artist was given a 25 inch x 25 inch space initially but some, like K. Khrisna, felt the need to paint on a bigger space.
Krishna’s vertical mural captured people of different ethnic backgrounds together.
“Even though our ancestors came from different places, Malaysia is our home,” he said.
KBU International College Graphic Design Year 3 students Mohd Shafiq Mohd Khaidir, 24, Ho Pei Yung, 21, Yeow Mei Yuin, 23, Joseph Yap Kim Sung, 23 and Chee Sze Wui, 21, decided to join their artpieces together.
The end result featured a Chinese opera actor, a teapot, a tea cup, a Jalan Sultan road sign and a heritage building, which are the elements of the historical place.
Their lecturer, Yvonne Ou Yong, 44, said the community project provided a good exposure for the students, besides teaching them to cherish the rich heritage.