While walking through George Town’s old city in search of the famous Ernest Zacharevic’s murals we bumped into many other pieces of street art which we didn’t know existed.
I know that we should have probably done a bit of homework beforehand to avoid missing some of Penang’s street art, but sometimes the surprise factor and the joy of discovering something unexpected makes the whole experience more satisfactory and adventurous.
Let’s say that we’ve been lucky once more and found these welded iron wall sculptures by complete accident.
The first one we saw was placed on a shophouse wall and looked quite odd to us, we couldn’t fully understand its real meaning. The characters looked like cartoons with a speech bubble and some other writing underneath.
The more we ventured between the streets, more steel-rod sculptures we found, more we started to understand their wittiness and what they represented.
In fact it isn’t a fortuity where they are placed and what they represent, there is a particular reason for having them within the inner city and made with funny looking characters.
Those sculptures are part of the ’Marking George Town’ project commissioned by the State Government of Penang itself. A company from Kuala Lumpur won the design idea competition proposing to create steel rod caricatures made by local cartoonists that would represent historic facts of Penang’s streets that could draw peoples attentions whilst educating them and not damaging the area.
The whole initiative was wanted to make the history of the UNESCO World Heritage site of George Town more interesting and accessible by using funny images and words that would have definitely captured more the attention of passers by no matter if they’re visitors or locals.
I have to say it definitely worked by providing the heritage zones of the old city with a very distinctive, funny and hilarious personality. In fact the 52 rod steel caricatures are now welcoming everybody who walks by mixing humour with historical facts.
When we were in George Town, back in January 2013, these street art pieces weren’t all displayed yet. In fact we saw some still wrapped in plastic about to be put up. Now the entire project should be completed so if you go there you should be lucky to see them all 🙂
I have to admit that, even if I enjoyed this different kind of street art, I didn’t find easy to understand the full story behind each piece, not straightforward at least. I used a lot of my imagination at times but this is the risk the artists always came across, isn’t it?
This is another free activity I recommend doing. If you are wandering around the old town, it will be inevitable bumping into some of these weird and entertaining street art caricatures anyway.