|17 Aug 2020|
“ISKL’s campuses have always been surrounded by a natural landscape with lush jungle in our backyard and the Klang Valley mountains hugging the community and bringing us closer together. As the Ampang Hilir campus emerges and settles into its new location, we honor elements from the memorable old campuses that remind us of ISKL's legacy in Kuala Lumpur and beyond.” Ayesha Zulkifly, artist.
ISKL’s new 90-meter long Welcome Walls are much more than just art; they tell the story of our school’s history and connection to nature and Malaysia. Designed and created by ISKL Alumna and current teaching intern, Ayesha Zulkifly (‘06), the mural is inspired by Ayesha’s own experience at ISKL. She says, “I was so thrilled to be able to leave a legacy at ISKL. To be able to help bring the memories, the warmth and welcoming of the old campuses to our beautiful new setting. I was really honored.”
While abstract, the mural is also full of references to ISKL. Ayesha continues, “I think our community will understand the symbolism; the message is really about the individual’s journey, like an adventure, at ISKL. You walk in and you see a forest with many paths and you choose your journey, your path for growth.”
Hidden panthers peer out from lush foliage, the turtle and dragonfly play and the many colors of ISKL, our blue and yellow, along with SLR rainbow, create a bold new statement visible to all students who ride the bus or walk onto campus each day. Ayesha’s choices for the mural reflect the way she felt at ISKL. She explains, “(It’s) that sense of it’s okay to be colorful; to be slightly different. Squiggly lines instead of geometric shapes because we can. It’s exactly what ISKL is; it gives you the tools to do something completely unique.”
The Development Fund project was designed and completed over the summer break in an effort to bring a greater sense of community, history and playfulness to campus.
It is also a daily pleasure to behold for Head of School, Rami Madani. Rami elaborates, “Every morning as I walk along the spine, I look at the murals and feel proud of how well our alumna captured the essence of our school and our culture.”
Ayesha entered Grade 6 at ISKL in 1999, describing herself as a “rascal” who benefited from ISKL’s community. She says, “I felt that being here, the people I’ve met, helped me to want to do the good things I do now. Who you surround yourself with does affect who you become. I think I was really lucky that the people I surrounded myself with had good intentions.” Among those who encouraged her creativity were her High School and IB art teachers, Ginny Bieberich and Paul Ubl who encouraged her to be wildly creative while giving real-world feedback.
After school, Ayesha studied design at the Wanganui School of Design in New Zealand before launching her career in interior design, followed by PR, in Kuala Lumpur. However, she was drawn back to ISKL by a desire to give back as a teacher. Now an intern teacher in Middle School Humanities, she says, “I have a bank of knowledge of the real world and I can relate a lot with this generation of students in terms of things they might want to do. I’ve tried so many things - I had my own cafe, skateboard business; I’ve worked in interior design and event management - and I want them to know that there are many things you can do and not to worry so much about surviving in the real world. ISKL nurtures you and gives the skills to do that.”
Ayesha’s sisters, Aleia (‘08) and Jennab (‘11), along with her new husband Daok, assisted with painting the mural over a three week period, making it a true family affair!
How would Ayesha like people to respond to the ISKL Welcome Walls? “I hope they just hug it. Sit against it, lean against it. I want them to go up close and hug it – literally feel that warmth.”
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