Visiting George Town‘s world famous street art was on top of my to do list in my Penang, Malaysia holiday. Somehow, my visit to street arts and my birthday coincided. God had its own plans to make my birthday special and took my itchy feet to all the way to George Town. I had seen few pictures of murals in Google and I wasn’t having much of expectation out of it, I thought it’s just an another street art which attracts tourists, but I was proved wrong. I choose evening to visit these murals and by the time I finished few, it started getting dark and I was so intrigued with those murals, I had to come back again another day just to see the missed ones.
My Guide To See Street Art Murals – Street Art George Town, Penang
George Town, Penang was declared as world heritage site by UNESCO in 2008 and in 2012 government decided to give a new identity to the George Town by commissioning Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic to paint the street. Are you thinking he changed the entire look of the town? Yes, he did; but keeping the heritage as it is and later many local artists contributed to this street art. The whole George Town represents the Malaysian history and these street art murals takes you on a history walk. These murals are painted on a run down walls and on few walls, objects are used to create 3D effect. These vibrant murals behind run down walls,speaks about social history of George Town and you can interpret them to your own imaginations.
How to do a street art walk at George Town Penang?
I didn’t use any proper route, I just hopped into trishaw and stopped where ever I saw an art.(opt this, if you are as lazy as me)
You can take guided tours to street walk or hop on Trishaw (I paid 20 RM per hour).You can also rent bicycle and do your own cycle street art tour. If you love art then I would suggest you to be on your own, either walk or rent bicycle because, these murals has lots to offer for your art soul and can quench some of your thirst for art. I regret for not being on my own as I was bounded by hourly price I was paying to my trishaw rider and unfortunately he couldn’t understand my thirst for art as he just wanted to finish everything in that stipulated time so he can find his next business.
My Experience- Street Art, George Town, Penang
I started my art walk (ride) from Armanian street, like I said, these murals are open for interpretation as your imagination take to. My first mural was ‘Little children on bicycle’.
‘Little children on bicycle-Street Art’.
This is one of the famous street art in Penang and you can actually get cover picture for your Facebook profile picture (I updated mine: P), dont be surprised if you have to stand in que to take picture with this mural. kids laughing on the bicycle is very lively and when I was trying to pose for the picture, I was almost heard their roaring laughter and bought a smile on my face to make picture perfect.
‘Cat surrounded with fortune cat’-Street art
Cat dolls called fortune cats are often seen in Japanese culture and believed to bring good luck to the business owners. You can see these fortune cats at the entrance of shops, restaurants or near cash counter. Wondering what these fortune cats are doing around ‘the cat’? This one was painted by ASA, Artists of stray Animals. Whole idea is to create awareness of stray cats. Can you spot the little mouse hanging on its tail at the corner?
‘Boy On Chair’ – Street Art Mural
Boy trying to reach up the shelf to get whatever it is there reminds me that, kids are kids irrespective of geography, race, religion. I am sure, we all have done this when we were kids – trying to reach up in kitchen to get our hands into eatables. If you have given up your hopes on your dream, look at this art and remember, there is always a chair somewhere, to get your hands near to your dream.
‘Children on the Swing- Street Art’
This street art took me to my childhood and reminded me of all the good times I had with my brother. I got so involved in enjoying this art, I didn’t give second thought before jumping on the swing to be a part of picture captured from my camera.
‘Sister and brother playing basketball’- street art
This one, once again made me nostalgic. We are all kids somewhere inside, it’s just that we don’t want to let the kid inside us to come out as we are too busy in our adult skin living the stereotyped life. The man in pink shirt in the picture is actually photo bomber but he looks like as if he is running towards the kids to give a hand on playing basketball.
‘The Boat Man ‘-Street art
Malaysia has a diversified culture and Tamil people who migrated from India centuries ago is also an integral part of Malaysia. This boat man is a Tamilian and he represents the history of all Indian migrants of Malaysia.
‘Man in hood’-street art
You may think you are safe but never know who is watching you. Old man at the gate seems like care free and enjoying his street view.
These above are the few street art murals I saw and there are plenty more which I have missed and I really wish that my itchy feet takes me back to Penang one day and cover all the missed ones and hopefully see new set of street art.
Street art in Penang is not just limited to wall paints. There are plenty of welded iron wall caricatures art across George Town which tells the tales of past in humorous way. I will make an exclusive post of welded iron wall caricatures of George Town Penang in another blog post.