MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Thursday, November 30, 2023

Funny drawings with message: Using art to spread road safety awareness

The Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) has been taking on a slightly more unconventional approach in its effort to raise awareness of road safety - which is art.

From Nov 29 to Dec 31, the walls of V Gallery of Tunku Abdul Rahman University of Management and Technology’s (TAR UMT) main campus will be graced by 60 pieces of artwork from a road safety-themed cartoon competition that Miros organised back in 2020.

Titled “International Cartoon Exhibition: Towards Safer Roads”, the two-week exhibition is jointly organised by TAR UMT, Miros and Balai Kartun Rossem. The official launch will be held on Dec 4.

It is to note that Balai Kartun Roseem, located in Kelantan, is the largest cartoon museum of its kind in the country.

Yusof Ghani, the director of Miros Art (a section within Miros), came up with the idea for the “Towards Safer Roads” cartoon competition during the Covid-19 lockdown.

And Yusof has renowned artist Rossem (real name Rosedi Ismail) to thank for helping to spread information about the competition across the world.

Miros Art director Yusof Ghani

The competition saw 346 participants from 51 countries with 800 artworks. Essentially, only 60 were selected, printed out and mounted on canvas for the exhibition.

Based on how well it was received, Yusof said they might hold another one with a different road safety-related theme soon.

“Road safety is a global issue,” said Yusof, who is also no stranger to the art world.

“We use art as a tool to engage with the public, especially students on the importance of road safety.”

Miros Art has used various artistic means to engage interest in road safety. One in particular is a sculpture by Baharuddin Arus, former art professor at Universiti Brunei Darussalam and Universiti Malaysia Sabah, titled “Obedient Rider”.

This simple piece invited a lot of interest and Yusof used it as a tool to talk about road safety.

Meanwhile, Yusof’s assistant, Muhammad Hariz Abdullah, was inspired by the Aghan Camera, a makeshift camera created by some Afghan people to take photos for official purposes.

It is essentially a box with some mechanisms functioning as a camera and the photos resemble black-and-white polaroid shots.

Placing this camera in a public place invites curiosity and, of course, those who want their photos taken can do so while holding up a sign promoting road safety.

When these people put up their photos, they help spread awareness of road safety albeit in a subtle artistic manner.


As for the exhibition, the comic drawings are thought-provoking and funny at the same time. Most importantly, they invite discussion about what is depicted on the canvas.

Road safety issues such as wearing seat belts, zebra crossing, dangers of drunk driving, paying attention while driving, too many cars on the road and child seats are the many issues that are covered by these artists.

Yusof said their target is essentially young people, especially those aged between 16 and 25 who are deemed high-risk. He also said that road safety is something that needs to be constantly addressed when it comes to this group.

This is actually not the first “Towards Safer Roads” exhibition held. Back in 2022, the exhibition took place from Aug 1 to Sept 30 at Balai Seni Lukis Kelantan. It attracted droves of people and the gallery even requested for the exhibition to be extended for a couple of weeks - which they did.

There are plans to hold the exhibition in other parts of the country but for that to happen, suitable venues are needed.

“Wherever it is, I will be there to sell the idea of road safety,” Yusof promised. - Mkini

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.