Title         : The Royal Rumble
Size          : 183cm x 353cm
Medium : Acrylic and Airbrush on Canvas
Year        : 2013

Written by : Elaine Loh

A major painting that is truly close to the very heart of Raja Lope.

The Royal Rumble takes place in the heavenly world, transporting us to a world where we are able to walk in the clouds amongst the constellation of the stars. The little child, a princess by birth, journeys with her reliable companion, the Horned Cat and her imaginary teddy bear friend to witness the annual royal battle between the famed and mythical garuda and dragon. Joining her is an ensemble of Wayang Kulit (shadow puppets) giants to view this epic battle.

The larger than life Horned Cat carries influences from Hayao Miyazaki’s Totoro anime which many of us grew up with. The creature is Malaysianised further where the artist takes reference from the Malay proverb “Menantikan kucing bertanduk” – waiting for something that will never happen. The fluff detailing of the cat makes it such a lovable character, reminiscent of the warmth and comfort of our childhood years.

Remarkably, the princess is largely inspired by the artist’s niece and his endearing love for her is clearly reflected in this painting; his simple wish for all to dream away and truly enjoy the happy and fantastical childhood years.

In the world of Raja Lope, there is neither the past nor the future; rather it is the best of both worlds infused into one realm, one fantasy and one imagination. In this painting, there is an odd uncanny surrealistic blend of traditional mythical world of garuda and dragon along with the futuristic mechanical shadow puppets and space ships. It is truly fascinating to look at the hyper realistic characters of Raja Lope’s art piece and be absorbed into his world of limitless imagination.

Such as it is, this encourages us to bring our inner imaginations & creativity to a higher level; that what is old (Wayang Kulit tradition) is able to maintain its charms and appeal beyond the test of time. It is surprisingly notable that the magical Horned Cat is able to magically elevate himself weightlessly and walk amongst the heavenly clouds. This brings to mind where one is able to do away with the burden of the world, one is truly able to reach the stars….all that is impossible is now possible!