During our visit in George Town, the capital of the state Penang in Malaysia, we were especially fascinated by the contemporary street art, which is spread out across Penang’s city center. We took a stroll along Jalan Penang, Muntri Street, Weld Quay, Lebuh Leith, Armenian Street and Ah Quee Street where we discovered the unique painted walls mimicking life in the city and the wrought-iron caricatures with anecdotal descriptions of the streets that they adorn.
In 2012 Penang’s municipal council hired London-trained Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic and charged him with breathing new life into some of the atmospheric Chinese shop-houses around the inner city.
In the following years, the council commissioned steel rod caricature dioramas of Penang’s way of life (like the Tok Took Mee sculpture along China Street) from the local company “Sculpture at Work”, to join Zacharevic’s creations. Other Penang street art by local artists include Desmond Yeo’s piece titled ‘The Awaiting Trishaw Paddler’ along Jalan Penang, and ‘101 Lost Kittens’, an artwork by the group “Artists For Stray Animals”, who strive to create awareness over the issue of helping find homes for stray animals.
Here some impressions:
The artistic feel can be experienced around town: there are many local artists who sell their art work in small ateliers, experimental musicians giving spontaneous concerts in the streets, artists painting walls and creative coffee shops.
We really enjoyed the layed-back vibe of the city; the only tip we have for you if you plan to explore George Town: don’t be as dumb as we were and hit the road during midday or in the early afternoon. It is just too hot and humid! Believe us, we nearly collapsed. If you prefer to take a ride instead of walking you can hire one of the brightly colored trishaws found just down the road from the Eastern & Oriental Hotel. Prices start at approximately RM80 for a one-hour ride.