A recent history
Today you cannot speak of Penang, in particular Georgetown, without mentioning the street art. The walls of the old city are covered with amazing, funny, creative pieces of street art. However, it has not always been the case!
The Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic is the one who unwillingly started this movement back in 2012. Invited during the George Town Festival of 2012, he created a series of murals depicting some scenes for the local everyday life. Those murals were so appreciated that there are now part of the most photographed spots in the city. It didn’t take a lot to motivate more artists to come and take over the walls of the city!
Where to find it?
Street Art is everywhere in George Town so you basically need to wander around the city keeping an open eye. Take also that opportunity to admire the beautiful architecture of this city!
If you need guidance however you will be able to find many maps on Internet; it will also help you to find the ones you are the most looking for, if any. Another solution is to simply type “street art” in Maps.Me* and little blue dots will appear all around you so you make sure to check all these locations!
We had a lot of fun playing around and posing with some of them! Honestly we are not the best at that game, but we still had fun trying!
*Note: in general we acknowledge that Maps.Me is a good complement to Google Maps and we would recommend you to download it before your next travel!
Some of our favorite (hard to choose!)
The cool part with the street art buzz is that it has brought in many different artists with a huge variety of styles. There has to be one that you like!
A glimpse at the diversity of Georgetown street art
Only a glimpse, because we did miss many since we did not follow the map, but just wandered around! We tried to categorize them, but it is not always easy!
Marking George Town
A particularly interesting part of the street art scene we would like to highlight is the fantastic creative iron work of the collaborative sculpture studio SCULPTURE-AT-WORK. Commissioned by the Penang State Government as part of the exhibition Marking George Town, the 52 sculptures can be found all across the city. In a funny and original manner they display historical or cultural anecdotes about different landmarks of the city. A very cool way to bring information to both locals and visitors!
Another interesting initiative that seemed to be very popular and recent is the creation of an Art Lane. What is it? It is simply a long corridor crossing a block of buildings that has been made available for any artists to come and paint on the walls! There is even paint available for free if needed! It seemed pretty cool.
Some of (not all) the cats painting you can find in George Town are the work of a collective of artists calling themselves “Artists for Stray Animals”. It is part of the project 101 Lost Kittens that was meant to create awareness on the fate of stray animals in the city and call out for people to care more. Apparently it worked, since we saw many people that have well-treated pets. Some others were even leaving some food in the street for stray cats and dogs.
I included in this series some other painting of animals.
Of course, modern themes are a source of inspiration for many artists and you will find super-heroes such as Spiderman; video games heroes such as Mario Bros; cartoons characters such as the Minions and the Simpsons; movie characters from Star Wars; and actual real life models like Frida Kahlo.
Some more that we could not classify…