An internationally renowned Lithuanian street artist, Ernest Zacharevic, has been barred from entering Malaysia.
A stamp in his passport does not allow him to enter Malaysia with no explanation as to why and for how long, Zacharevic was reported as saying.
The mural artist is barred from entering Malaysia, at the same time that political cartoonist Zunar is barred from going out of Malaysia.
“Zacharevic cannot come in; I cannot go out. Why is the government afraid of artists? We do not carry guns and bombs. We only carry pens and brushes,” said Zunar, who has been banned from travelling abroad since 2016.
The BN government should feel ashamed if it compares itself with the Penang state government’s stance towards art and artists, he added. “Penang gives freedom to artists from all over the world to freely express their artistic views via programmes such as George Town Literary Festival.”
Zacharevic gained worldwide recognition after painting six street art murals for the George Town Festival in 2012. These murals, including Children on Bicycle and Boy on Motorcycle, are on the must-see list of many visitors to George Town.
Zunar urged the Malaysian government to immediately lift the ban on Zacharevic entering Malaysia. “Malaysia is now North Korea in disguise,” he said.