The first phase of the shopping centre continues to grow its offerings via community partnerships and new F&B additions to its drive-thru by mid-2021
Batu Kawan, Penang; 7 April 2021 – Ikano Centres, part of IKEA Southeast Asia, is pleased to announce the launch of Creative Spark, an art-based platform aimed at bringing communities together through an arts mentorship program. The initiative kicked off with the unveiling of the ‘Building Yourself’ graffiti mural at its Penang centre, anchored by IKEA Batu Kawan. The mural symbolises a fresh start for the dynamic new community and township.
In collaboration with Can Can Public Art, a creative place-making team specialising in street and public art; the mural was completed by the renowned artist Leonard Siaw with the assistance of three art graduates under his mentorship. Symbolic to the community starting anew, the mural portrays cultural elements inspired by music, education, learning, arts, and pop-culture. This is visualised through the books, graphic illustrations, and floral patterns seen in the finished mural, which also comes to life through an integrated augmented reality component where viewers can use their smartphones to scan the mural to watch it animate. ‘Building Yourself’ is the largest interactive outdoor painted mural in Penang and is supported by the Penang State Art Gallery.
“The Creative Spark project is just one of the many initiatives we will launch for and with our local communities across our portfolio. We aim to enable and empower our visitors to get involved, participate, and enjoy our meeting places across all regions. In these times, more than ever, community-building has become a priority for our meeting places. Our plan for every destination is to facilitate learning, provide inspiration and memorable experiences, as well as ignite connections within the community,” said Adrian Mirea, IKEA Southeast Asia’s Shopping Centre and Mixed-Used Director.
He continued, “We are thrilled to be able to provide a platform for new uprising talents to showcase their abilities, sharpen their skills, and connect with like-minded people. In addition to our F&B drive-thru component that is scheduled to launch in Q2 this year, Creative Spark is one of our continued efforts to grow our offerings to the Batu Kawan community.”
Last year, Ikano Centres announced that it would be welcoming its first partner to its drive-thru concept – McDonald’s Malaysia. Taking up approximately 35,000 square feet space, the quick-service restaurant at Batu Kawan will be Penang’s 16th free-standing McDonald’s Malaysia outlet. Tealive and KFC will also be joining the drive-thru, with scheduled openings by the end of 2021. The team is also in active talks with supermarket and petrol station operators to align Batu Kawan’s offer to meet the high demand in Aspen Vision City’s vastly growing township.
According to Tan Chor Whye, CEO of Can Can Public Art, “It has always been our aim to help communities rethink possibilities and achieve new potentials through art. We are truly excited to be working with Ikano Centres on a platform to support the local creative industry, as well as nurture up-and-coming artists in Malaysia. The ‘Building Yourself’ mural is just the first of many collaborations to come as we hope we can contribute to positioning Batu Kawan as a hub for arts and culture.”
Penang State Art Gallery Chairman, Lee Khai, also shared his support towards transforming Batu Kawan into a space that encourages the community to connect. “Penang has always been seen as the destination for food and lately, for our art as well. We are delighted to see a new development in Batu Kawan, embracing Penang’s unique identity. We hope Creative Spark will continue to inspire talents in creating art that brings light, joy and hope to the people of Penang and when borders open up, to all Malaysians and tourists too,” he said.
The Creative Spark mentorship program is an initiative by Ikano Centres to celebrate all forms of art such as music, dance, and theatre. The platform also encourages the community to connect and explore their own unique creativity at its portfolio of centres in both Malaysia and Thailand.