George Town is a multicultural capital of the Malaysian island of Penang. The mix of cultures is visible around every corner, demonstrated in colours, smells and sounds. Once an important trading hub, the city is known for its British colonial buildings, Chinese shophouses, grand mosques and amazing street art.
Marking George Town with Steel Rod Sculptures
The history of the city is on its walls – the cartoon art made from steel rods scattered through the old part of the city tells the story. Back in 2009 local authorities organized a competition and asked different artists to pitch ideas for how they would decorate the city. The winning idea came from a group called Sculpture at Work. They ended up winning the commission under the creative direction of local artist Tang Mu Kian. That collaboration resulted in creation of 52 pieces of quirky and humorous art that are spread around the historic part of George Town.
All these pieces celebrate city’s heritage, communities, food scene and diverse culture and you can learn more about the city and Penang in a fun way. For instance, I discovered that Jimmy Choo, a famous designer is originally from there!
Street Art You Can Interact With
Something that’s certain after my stay there – this city rewards explorers! Getting lost in the maze of streets and small lanes is the best way to discover some charming spots and amazing street art. Ernest Zacharevic is the artist behind the explosion of street art in the city.
Lithuania-born artist became exceedingly popular in Penang after completing a series of murals entitled Mirrors George Town as part of George Town Festival 2012. These public paintings depict scenes of everyday life in Malaysia, were one of his first public art projects. Needless to mention that they were a total hit with locals and tourists alike.
Many of his paintings combine objects such as swings, motorcycles and different architectural features allowing people to interact with them. Although two of the most popular are Children on Bicycle and Boy on Motorcycle I also loved some other works. It’s worth looking for more as these murals are scattered all over George Town.