Nowadays George Town – the capital of the Penang Island – isn’t only famous and well known for becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site, there are many other reasons why the residents and Malaysia itself are incredibly proud of it.
There is something quite new that enhances George Town’s history and that can be found in the heart of the old city between the colonial buildings and the original shophouses that are still standing and surviving exactly as they were when they first opened their doors for trading over 150 years ago.
In fact apart from its interesting past, its heritage and its mouth watering food, the proliferation of street art has added something new and different to be seen in George Town.
With the Steel Rod Caricatures scattered everywhere in the heritage zones with a tale of the street they decorate, the idea of street art as a cultural tool to bring people together was just the beginning. Those initially helped create a consciousness of the rich history of the streets and soon something more was wanted to keep this aroused interest alive.
Here is when the Ernest Zacharevic’s murals stepped in. The young artist managed to emulate the city life well enough to generate even more interest between locals and visitors.
Soon George Town’s street art became one of the main attractions of the city, walking tours were organized, maps printed and people (us included of course) simply loved discovering a new art piece as soon as they turned the next corner, posing next to the murals to almost be a part of the life scene shown.
“A huge success!“
Following the success of the young Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic, another local artist named Luis Gan also decided to leave his mark.
The deaf-mute self-taught artist from Penang has done three murals to date of which we unfortunately managed to see only two as the third was yet to be completed during our visit.
Even if his style is slightly different from Zacharevic’s idea, Luis Gan still tries to deliver the same message about the local life.
I don’t mean to be picky and take anything away from the effort made, but my favourite murals are those (if not all) of Ernest Zacharevic. I do appreciate though how more and more artists are joining the game and leaving their mark even if sometimes they can seem a bit controversial.
There is so much of the Penang’s street art we didn’t get to see and so many newer pieces that have been done more recently which we wish we didn’t miss. Oh well, It’s impossible to see everything!
I hope that with the years to come the increasing presence of art in George Town and the rest of Penang island won’t stop and that will also give chances to the local artists to shine more and more, it’s always good to walk in a lively arty city! 🙂