Malaysia is an interesting country to visit because of its diversity. One place that stands out is George Town City that’s famous for the Penang street art. And when in the city, it’s so easy to notice the colorful, vibrant, and beautiful mural Penang has.
Everywhere you look, there are art pieces! You will find amazing murals, steel sculptures, and wall paintings on every street corner. Some of the murals even involve physical objects, encouraging you to interact with the art piece. No wonder this place is a massive hit among Instagrammers and selfie-lovers.
The Penang street art expresses the daily life of the locals in a sweet and sometimes funny way, almost like cartoon comics. The murals Penang has will make you think and reflect about the local way of life.
It may take the form of wrought iron sculptures illustrating pivotal scenes from Penang’s past or be a simple paste-up image of a kitten. The scene is recent; in 2012, for the George Town Festival, Penang-based, Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic painted scenes on the crumbling walls around the center of George Town. The works focus on the youngest and oldest members of Penang’s community, Zacharevic’s neighbors, and depict domestic moments of joy, playfulness, and determination.
Marking George Town
In 2009, the local government launched “Marking George Town,” an idea competition for UNESCO World Heritage Site. The winning group did a unique series of steel-rod caricatures which retells the history of the streets and and stories of the community in a local voice. This Gerogetown street art never fail to amaze the tourists because of its beauty.
George Town as a Street Artist’s Haven
Penang street art doesn’t just stop here, though. In recent years, street art has come to be almost a second pulse within the city. Venture down one of the many side streets and you’re likely to encounter some piece of wayward artwork.
Ernest Zacharevic’s “Old Motorcycle” shows someone running away from a crudely drawn dinosaur, held by a child, while another one of Zacharevic’s works titled “Kungfu Girl,” shows a girl balancing on the side of a building, preparing to kick an invisible enemy.
Interspersed between these Penang wall arts, you’ll be able to sample another type of art: the local street food. Behind the food carts, you’ll likely find more images. This time they are by an unknown artist, someone who is trying to make a name for themselves in an increasingly busy scene.
Another artist to look out for is Louis Gan, whose murals represent his own childhood experiences in the city. For many of the artists, these expressions aren’t just for the purpose of art, they are in order to remember the history of the city. And the Penang street art and graffiti scene are only encouraged in the city. If you happen to pass by the youth park in the Penang Municipal Park, you’ll notice that almost every surface is covered in some form of art. This is an effort to get youth interested in art.
As time continues to pass, more and more artists are flocking to George Town – and Penang as a whole – to leave their mark on the city. Each time you visit, the city will have more to offer and more vibrancy than the last time you were there.
Penang Street Art Map
For anyone interested in the Georgetown street art, here’s the Penang street art map to guide you. It’s recommended that you start at Jalan Muntri and then work your way through George Town in a general ‘turn right, then left’ fashion, until you reach the Chew Jetty. Don’t miss Lebuh Pantai, where a surprise waits for you in plain sight.
During this adventure, a quick rest at the Armenian Art Café will provide you some light refreshments, and a few more pieces of art; including one of a heart split into two by a pair of phone booths, at the popular Love Lane.
Of course, for a real avid street art enthusiast, the whole neighborhood really should be explored. You can spend the whole day interacting with locals, uncovering great pieces of urban art and then grabbing a great meal at the one of Penang’s ‘food paradise’ restaurants.
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