Size : 11in x 13in Hardcover
Pages : 120
Foreword by Eric Peris
Silent Wall began as a collective photo-project by several enthusiasts, examining ways of documenting the hand-painted mural of the external perimeter wall of Kuala Lumpur's iconic Pudu Jail in 2008.
Soon to be demolished, the mural depicting landscapes and nature was photographed and collated into bookform here, preserved for future generations of KL-ites, to ponder and reminisce as the form of a new retail development rises over its former site.
Demolition began in 2010.
Rear cover text :
"Built by Charles Edwin Spooner, in 1895, Pudoh Goal as it was then coined, was the oldest remand centre in Malaysia, built by the British Government in the Pudu district of the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. The design is a mixture of Moorish, Tudor, Neo-Classical and Neo Gothic influences combined with local architectural styles of the period.
In June 2010, after over a decade since its official decommissioning as a prison, the wall and its enclosed cell blocks are subjected to staged demolition work to make way for a highway bypass, and another spanking new retail and office development. This event has been inevitable, since the site occupies prime commercial land in the business and shopping district of the city.
The external wall mural, of which the Silent Wall authors have photographically documented to its entirety in this book, was hand painted in the mid 1980's with over 2,000 litres of paint by a group of inmates under the scorching equatorial sun, once held the record for the world's longest public painted mural.
Despite of neglect and exposure to the harsh elements, the panels have weathered surprisingly well, although parts have been repainted and repaired over the ensuing years. Nevertheless, the artists' intended calming effect of the 'utopian' landscapes upon passers by still mystifies.
The prison and its walls have become intrinsically 'fixed' into the matrix of Kuala Lumpur's built-environment : historically, socially and environmentally speaking, and despite numerous pleas and initiatives to preserve the site, the bulldozers have won."