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New lease of life for used tires

  • Mohd Firdaus Lee has created a Rafflesia flower, the world's largest flower, with used tires. Photo courtesy: Bernama
  • Incredible works of art on display outside Uncle Lee's Turaran Creative Tire Art workshop. Photo courtesy: Bernama

TUARAN, Oct 29 (Sin Chew Daily) -- Used tires are normally discarded, but a tire dealer in Tuaran, Sabah, has decided to give used tires a new lease of life, turning them into more than 300 magnificent pieces of works of art featuring flora and fauna such as Rafflesia, snake, orangutan and rabbit, and giving the tiny town an added artistic atmosphere while doing his bit to save the environment.

51-year-old Chinese Muslim Mohd Firdaus Lee Abdullah said among his best creations were a coconut tree, Rafflesia, motorbike, desk and chair, which he said had drawn the attention of many onlookers.

He said during an interview with Bernama that his first piece of artwork was a flower pot before trying to turn used tires into all kinds of creations such as mosquito, elephant, cow, monkey, bird, squirrel, dolphin, fish and jellyfish.

No longer doing a tire business today, Mohd Firdaus Lee now dedicates all his time to tire art creation, and has set up Uncle Lee's Turaran Creative Tire Art workshop in Kampung Barus.

He said he never had any formal training in tire art creation, and was self-taught artist out of interest.

“It all started when a friend and I started a tire business in Lok Kawi some 16 years back.

“It was difficult to dispose of used tires on our premises, and then the idea of creating a sculpture using the waste sprang to mind.”

He said it only took him a day to make four chairs, ten birds in a week and a Rafflesia flower in five days.

“I get free supply of used tires from tire shops around Tuaran and Tamparuli, and my designs sell for RM5 to RM1,000 a piece.”

He said using old tires to create sculptures helps prevent environmental pollution.

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