Kenji Chai & Hotlink's Latest Mural Celebrating Sabah Culture Gets Minted Into NFT

The Sandakan-born artist recently gave Wisma Sabah a facelift with a vibrant new artwork! <3

Cover image via Kenji Chai (Facebook) & Hotlink

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This Spotlight is sponsored by Hotlink.

If you stay in Kota Kinabalu, you might have noticed that Wisma Sabah just got a facelift with a vibrant new mural! :O

Image via Hotlink

Located right opposite Suria Sabah Shopping Mall, along Jalan Haji Saman, this intricately painted wall art on Wisma Sabah has become one of the centrepieces in Kota Kinabalu town.

What's even cooler is that the mural was painted by one of Sabah's own street artists, Kenji Chai, in collaboration with Hotlink

You may not have heard of Kenji before, but you've most probably seen his works of art.

Kenji Chai pursued the life of a graffiti artist back in 2008. Though his decision was unconventional, his fiery passion for the arts has since led him to international stardom. To date, his murals have been spotted in various cities around the globe, including New York, Miami, Beijing, Singapore, Tokyo, India, and closer to home, in various Malaysian states – recently adding yet another piece to his home-state of Sabah.

He is most well known for his Chaigo artwork, an iconic turquoise blue dog. Chaigo is a wordplay of Kenji's surname, Chai, and the Chinese word for dog, "gou".

As part of Hotlink's campaign to highlight the #BikinSampaiJadi spirit, Kenji shares the inspiration behind his hard work, as he shows off his state pride

The newly painted mural doesn't just look good, the concept behind it is equally impressive.

Through the idea of 'Only the Strong Survive', Kenji's artwork shines a light on the many kinds of native Sabah wildlife — featuring the fastest animals on land, under the sea, and in the air — the leopard, the black marlin, and the falcon. His artwork gives both locals and travellers a glimpse into the vast beauty, strength, and diversity of wildlife that can be found in the state.

Image via Hotlink

"I chose those animals because they are the fastest animals in their own right. The sunda leopard on land, the falcon in the sky, and the black marlin in the sea. Also Hotlink as a brand has a fast and strong network. So it's a perfect combination," shared Kenji.

He also credits his passion for the arts to memories of growing up in Sandakan

Image via Hotlink

As a kid in primary school, Kenji absolutely fell in love with drawing and doodling, and would often scribble characters from Ninja Turtles and Street Fighter on his textbook. Growing up, cartoons also had a special place in his heart.

"Maybe I just felt really happy as a kid, sitting in front of the TV, waiting for cartoons. I wanted to capture that mood and share it with people and remind them that that moment is also the most beautiful moment in our lives," shared Kenji.

According to Kenji, #BikinSampaiJadi perfectly sums up his journey from an unrecognised street artist to becoming a world renowned artist

Image via Hotlink

Despite having a rough childhood, Kenji was sure of what he wanted to do for a living. Though graffiti art wasn't the easiest career choice when he first started, he continued to persevere to make his dreams a reality.

"#BikinSampaiJadi for me is like [how] I used to paint my Chaigo on the streets [of Kota Kinabalu]... after three years, I get invited back to the city to paint in a much bigger way than I ever thought possible," said Kenji.

Kenji also teamed up with Hotlink to pay homage to his home-state by giving the mural a permanent spot on the blockchain via a 'Made in Sabah' non-fungible tokens (NFT) collection

Image via Hotlink

Hotlink's campaign to highlight the #BikinSampaiJadi spirit aims to support local talents by giving them a platform to showcase their talents. This collaboration with Kenji signifies the first of many partnerships to come, as the brand hopes to continue working with local artists so they can #BikinSampaiJadi, their way!

The Internet is changing the world, from the way we transact money (e.g. e-payments and cryptocurrency), to even the way we appreciate art, especially with the rise of NFTs. Harnessing the unlimited power of the Internet, Hotlink is also enabling artists to flaunt their state pride by immortalising their artwork on the metaverse through NFT.

"As you know now, we live in the digital era. NFT has become a very interesting topic for digital artists. I try to learn and study [more about this] from people who are doing well on social media. So much quality work for me to learn from and gain from everyone," said Kenji.

Check out Kenji's #BikinSampaiJadi story below and be inspired by his passion and grit!

Plus, discover how you can own a piece of Kenji Chai's unique artwork in digital form by visiting Hotlink's website.

With Hotlink, you too can #BikinSampaiJadi and live out your dreams. Switch to Hotlink Prepaid now and get unlimited Internet or high-speed Internet from only RM2!

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