spunktitud3

Musings on Travel, Fashion & Fun

Penang – An Alternative Guide to George Town’s Street Art

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Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

My Facebook page has been flooded with photos of George Town’s street art for this entire year. Curiosity stoked, Darren and I decided it was time for us to do our own interpretations of George Town’s famous street art. You can be sure they will be quite atypical ;)

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Best way to go on a street art trail – rent a bicycle. We got ours for only RM8 for an entire day!

It was only recently that Penang’s street art stared to generate quite a buzz on social networks from Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic’s series of murals painted during Mirrors George Town for George Town Festival 2012. What is not widely-known is that the seed to plant art in George Town started back in 2009 when Kuala Lumpur-based art company Sculpture at Work won the Penang state government’s commissioned art challenge ‘Marking George Town: An Idea Competition for UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sculpture at Work proposed to tell stories of Penang inspired by their residents and culture through 52 steel rod caricatures place all over George Town. Together with the wall murals, they caught the world’s attention and tourists started flocking to Penang for another reason – other than its food.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Every Penangnite wants a piece of the tourism business. Shops such as this clothing store rent out bicycles to tourists, and have their own ‘street art’ outside their shops to attract business.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Here we go on our street art exploration!

First, to find the famous murals painted by Ernest Zacharevic…

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

The Trishaw
Jalan Penang
When Darren stopped in front, I kept asking “Where? Where?” Until I raised up my head. Silly me.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Kungfu Girl (no, not the one in sunglasses)
Lebuh Muntri

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Boy on Chair
Lebuh Cannon

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

When visiting during weekends, be prepared to queue for your turn to take a photo

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Little Children on a Bicycle (yes, all 3 children)
Lebuh Armenian
This would easily be the most popular mural of his series

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Cycling – a great way to see the city. Do it together on a double bike!

While Ernest Zacharevic started the street art faze, other Malaysian artists have also started to leave their mark around the heritage town, such as 101 Lost Kittens.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Skippy to Penang for animal awareness (by 101 Lost Kittens)
Gat Lebuh Armenian

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

It looks like the cat and the rat have been painted by two different artists. The one who drew the rat obviously has a wry sense of humour!

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Love me like your fortune cat
Gat Lebuh Armenian

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

While we usually back away if we see people gathering in back lanes, in Penang we go towards it. Because there’s likely to be a street mural.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

The real Bruce Lee would never do this
Lebuh Ah Quee

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

I can help catch rats
Lebuh Armenian

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Scent-sational
Not much is known about this unnamed artist. I sure had a good time with this mural!

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Rob me Rob me – no money, got honey!

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Art defaced
This used to be half the face of a Chinese opera singer, and half skeleton. It has since been destroyed. Many people ask the question – what if street art gets vandalized? I think it’s is just part of its natural evolution; created from inspiration, added on to over time, faded with memories and then something new will sprout up signifying the rebirth of yet another cultural expression.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Magic
Lebuh Armenian
Super vainpot :D

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Grandma & Grandson
Entrance of Chew Jetty

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Lebuh Armenian

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Lion dance mural found outside a shop

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Peek-a-boo!

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Minion Invasion. They are everywhere in the streets.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Minions
Lorong Soo Hong

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Fatt Choy Minion?

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Stylo-mylo

Did you know the streets of George Town were named after its trades, people and events? Learn about how each street got its name through the 52 steel rod sculptures placed all over the city which were inspired by Penangites going about their daily chores.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Procession
Lebuh Armenian
The Tua Pek Kong Hneoh Grand Float Procession is held in the Year of the Tiger to wash away bad luck and bring great wealth and health.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Cannon Hole
Lebuh Cannon
A cannon shot fired during the 1867 Penang Riots made a large hole in this area, hence the name.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Quiet Please
Lebuh Gereja
To the dismay of parishioners of the Portugese church there, Church Street also housed the headquarters of the notorious Ghee Hin secret society.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Ah Quee?
Lebuh Ah Quee
The street is named after Kapitan Chung Keng Kwee who generously donated this house to the Municipality for vehicular access, ensuring that his name lives on for posterity.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Budget Hotels
Lebuh Chulia
At the turn of the last century, many shophouses were turned into cheap hotels, making this internationally-known tourist strip very popular with backpackers.

My favourites happen to be drawn by a young non-commissioned Malaysian artist Louis Gan:

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Two children playing basketball
Lebuh Gat Chulia
Very cute shot, and an extremely happy family.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Brother and sister on a swing
Lebuh Gat Chulia
Louis depicts childhood in Penang through a mural of a brother and sister balancing on a swing

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Unleasing the Inner Child in me

I think it’s a wonderful idea and meaningful art/heritage trail for every visitor to Penang to embark on. I enjoyed my ride on wheels around the city, venturing along small laneways and hidden alleys in search of art. And Darren’s company was icing on the cake – he was great with the map and way -finding!

Street Art Maps
Street Art Map
Best map I have seen from Timeout Penang
Learn more about the 52 steel rod sculptures
Mural Map iphone app

You will not need to print the maps out; simply get a street art brochure when you arrive at the airport or from your hotel. Have fun :)

Read more about Penang
Penang – Made In Penang Interactive Museum 美因槟廊

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Author: spunktitud3

A little post by a fun-loving spunky gal in love with the quirky, the artsy and anything which inspires new creations. Read about her adventures on: spunktitud3.wordpress.com

10 thoughts on “Penang – An Alternative Guide to George Town’s Street Art

  1. I love your different take on things! :-)

  2. After seeing ur earlier pics of Penang’s street art, my husband and I decided to make a city trip to Georgetown. We went there about two weeks ago and we had a fantastic time. Unfortunately we did not have a good street art map and somehow we could not find one. You obviously did better in that;-) But despite that we managed to find most of them.
    So cool!
    Love your pics and your additional info. As always;-).

  3. It’s wonderful to see the street art pictures. This make me planning a trip there. =)
    Where did you rent the bicycles? How much per hour?

    • Hi Sook Yee, we rented the bicycles at this shop near the start of Lebuh Armenian called Zhang Trading. We rented the bicycle for RM8 a day, to return by 6pm when the shop closes. There are bicycles for rental everywhere in the city area, so am sure you won’t have problem finding one :)

  4. Hi I just came back from the Penang yesterday, actually i wanted to rent a bicycle but it’s too expensive. Where did you rent the bicycle?

    • Hey Cornelius!

      we rented the bikes at Perniagaan Zhang at Lebuh Armenian (shop is in the background of the photo). There are tons of bike rental shops actually, you just have to ask for the rates. We were lucky to find this shop which is the most affordable :)

  5. Hi! Love the pics and spirit of fun :) May i know where we can get a good street art map (hard copy)?

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