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Sarawakian Artist Tackles Climate Change Through Stunning Exhibition

About The Article

Media:                New Straits Times                                                                                                                            Title:                   Sarawakian Artist Tackles Climate Change Through Stunning Exhibition
Medium:             Print & Online

Date:                   March 3, 2024                                                                                                                                Author:               Intan Maizura Ahmad Kamal 

Article Content

IN the bustling embrace of a makeshift retail lot in the Strand Mall in Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya, artist Shamsul Hezri Hassan, fondly known as Syul Hezri, is inviting visitors to embark on a journey through his intriguing exhibition, “Ambil Peduli… (Addressing the Elephant in the Room): An Art Exhibition On Climate Change”.

At a time when the earth’s delicate balance teeters on the brink of irreversible change, the call for collective action resonates louder than ever. Climate change, a looming spectre of our times, casts its shadow over every facet of existence, demanding our attention, our urgency and our resolve.

And it’s against this backdrop of ecological urgency that the brushstrokes of an artist’s vision find profound significance. Enter the realm of Syul Hezri, whose latest exhibition not only captivates with its artistry but also serves as a powerful testament to the critical importance of addressing climate change.

Each stroke, each hue, and each carefully crafted composition serve to remind us of the intricate interconnectedness of our planet’s ecosystems, and the fragile balance we so often take for granted. It’s a call to arms that’s wrapped in creativity — a reminder that we all have a stake in the fight against climate change.


Hailing from Kuching, Sarawak, Syul Hezri’s artistic journey traces back to a childhood that’s coloured by a nomadic lifestyle. With a father serving as an army officer and a mother dedicated to education, the youngster found himself swept across the country’s landscape, shuttling between Kuching, Kluang and Kuala Lumpur during his formative years.

At the age of 12, he embarked on a new chapter, entering one of the country’s prestigious boarding schools nestled in the historic town of Kuala Kangsar, Perak. “Art has always been my sanctuary, a place where I can explore the depths of my imagination and give voice to the silent whispers of my soul,” reflects Syul Hezri, his gaze lingering thoughtfully upon the striking canvases adorning the walls.

Continuing, he confides that through “Ambil Peduli…”, he’s aspiring to transcend the confines of traditional artistic expression and shed light on the pressing environmental challenges facing our world today.

Despite his formal education in Information Technology and Business Administration, Syul Hezri’s creative spirit found solace in the evocative strokes of his mother’s artistic pursuits. It was her passion that ignited the flame of creativity within him, leading him to embark on his own artistic voyage.

“My mother instilled in me a deep appreciation for the power of art,” muses the talented Syul Hezri, who’s also a lead guitarist for underground band, Scallywhag. Adding, he recalls: “Despite being a teacher, mum’s passion was art. She used to exhibit her artworks for fun from time to time. In fact, her self-portrait, a copper-tooling sculpture is also on display here.”

A consummate storyteller, the 44-year-old’s artistic narrative transcends conventional boundaries, offering a strong reflection on the complexities of the human experience. Expression earnest, Syul Hezri shares: “Every brushstroke carries with it a piece of my journey thus far. Through my art, I’m striving to highlight the interconnectedness of all living beings, and hopefully inspire a deeper sense of empathy and understanding within us all.”


Drawing inspiration from his extensive travels to over 80 cities worldwide, the artist’s oeuvre is infused with the vibrant tapestry of global cultures and landscapes. From the hallowed halls of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence to the bustling streets of Kuala Lumpur, each brushstroke is a reflection of the Sarawakian’s unwavering commitment to artistic exploration and innovation.

“I’d say that I’m an avid traveller and a seeker of beauty. I’m always inspired by the various cultures and landscapes that make up our world,” reflects Syul Hezri, tone tinged with awe.

Adding, he shares that his artistic journey has certainly been shaped by the many diverse experiences and encounters he’s had over the years. “They’ve also enriched my perspective and deepened my appreciation for the beauty and fragility of our planet.”

Through his exhibition. Syul Hezri is hoping to provoke dialogue, challenge perceptions and ignite some semblance of social change. He believes strongly in the power of art as a catalyst for collective action.

“Art can transcend boundaries, unite communities and inspire change,” affirms Syul Hezri, who cites old masters such as Caravaggio and Rembrandt as being among his favourite artists, and the Renaissance and Baroque eras as his favourite periods.

Adding, he says solemnly: “I want to harness this transformative power to confront the urgent challenges of our time and pave the way for a brighter, more sustainable future.”

Visitors to the exhibition will be captivated by the mesmerising array of oil-on-canvas masterpieces. Syul Hezri’s work serves as a powerful reminder of our collective responsibility to safeguard the planet for future generations.

“‘Ambil Peduli…’ transcends the confines of traditional art exhibitions. It’s a rallying cry for environmental activism and social awareness,” explains Syul Hezri, his gaze fixed far into the distance.

Voice low, he continues: “Through my canvas, I am imploring the audience to confront ‘The Elephant In The Room’ – the existential threat of climate change — and take meaningful action to address it.”

With plans to take ‘Ambil Peduli…’ on a nationwide tour, Syul Hezri and Galeri Senikita aspire to ignite a groundswell of public support for environmental sustainability and collective action.

“I hope when visitors leave here, they’ll leave with not only recollections of my work, but also a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to play a part towards safeguarding our planet,” concludes the artist, his tone laced with a poignant plea.


What: “Ambil Peduli… (Addressing the Elephant in the Room)”

Where: Galeri Senikita, Ground Floor, Strand Mall, Kota Damansara.

When: From 11am to 7pm. Until March 9.

Go to: for details.