‘The saddest thing in life is wasted talent’. This quote from ‘A Bronx Tale’ plastered on the door should provide a clue as to what sort of things you’ll find inside. Dumpster might seem like an unlikely name for an art gallery and store, but if the phrase ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ can be embodied in a name and space, this store is a fine example. Owned by former ad man Romaizie Mustapha, also known as Rom, the idea behind Dumpster is to make sure local artistic talents don’t go to waste by providing the artists a platform to showcase their work.
Rom previously owned the vintage store Outdated (now known as Arcadia), but has decided to focus more on works inspired by local culture instead of vintage objects, which explains why most of the artworks featured are Malaysiana-inspired. The vision for this came about when he noticed a trend of the younger generation forgetting our traditional local cultures. One of the talents Rom works closely with is Kide Baharudin, who paints old Malaya of the ’60s in various settings. Other examples of works here include Amin Daud’s futuristic-looking prints of the Proton Saga and Oz Ishak’s poster of ’60s singer A Ramlie and Malaysia’s very own The Rhythm Boys.
Going beyond canvas and framed artworks, Kide’s drawings can also be found on T-shirts, tote bags and cushion covers. The ‘Hipster Kuda Kepang’ tee is apparently quite popular with customers. Besides works by Kide Baharudin, other artworks available in store are by Lina Tan, Mohd Fairuz Hafiez and more. Anticipate a wider range of works in due time as Rom continues to look for more talents to feature. You can find design magazines, furniture and Makmal turntables here as well. A collaboration between Makmal and local street artist Orkibal is in the works so expect vibrant characters invading the brand’s usual solid colours soon.
Also look forward to the Malaysian folk-tale series, which is a collection of poster reworks of old local films you might not even know existed. With a below-RM600 price range for framed prints and below-RM2,000 for paintings, the store clearly demonstrates how good art is also affordable.