The Street Art in Penang adds a whole lot of charm to an already charming colonial city in northern Malaysia.
Against the backdrop of old architecture with shutter windows, intricate swirls and twirls on ceramic tiles and classical lines, stands something so modern, so new and so expressive.
Walls from another lifetime are covered in bright colours, lifelike portraits, iron figures with anecdotal stories and powerful messages. Here, famous artists like Ernest Zacharevic and Louis Gan made their mark. Here, a Tom, a Dick or a Harry made their “illegal” mark as well. Here, the mark made by others can leave a mark on you.
A Journey through (some of) the Street Art in Penang
The Street Art in Penang depicts life from a few decades ago and as you stroll through Georgetown your mind takes a step back to a simpler time.
You “plan” to find the murals that you’ve seen in pictures and you end up finding so much more.
You visit one piece of art three times and on your fourth time, just before 7 in the morning, you can finally take a photo without any tourists or selfie sticks in the shot.
Some pieces are abandoned, some hidden, some broken and some changed over time.
You read the wrought-iron messages and have a little chuckle.
You search for the messages from an anonymous voice, you search for pictures from the daring individuals.
The streets of Georgetown in Penang are full of stories; stories deeply rooted and written on the walls, in faded signs and old colonial buildings. The streets of Georgetown talk to those willing to listen, here, through the Street Art in Penang. The streets of Georgetown are something not to be rushed but something to be explored.
Going Somewhere Slowly’s Tips:
- If you have a short time in Penang, visit Armenian Street and Canon Street.
- Don’t rush to the “must see” murals, rather familiarise yourself with Georgetown and start exploring; you’ll be surprised.
- Get a map if you want to see the “must see” murals.
- Early morning is the best time to go; most tourists are still sleeping and shops are still closed – some art can only be seen when shops’ doors are closed.
- Hire a bicycle or get on a rickshaw – it all depends on your time and your budget.