Now, I don’t pretend to be an art connoisseur â€“ seriously, I couldn’t tell a Picasso from a Pollock. I’m proud of the fact I can point out a Banksy (as I should, living close to Bristol) and can name a Van Gough, but if I’m honest with you that’s as far as my art knowledge goes.
Even so, I was really keen to go on an art treasure hunt around the streets of George Town, Penang, as I’d loved the images I’d seen of the city’s street art and wanted to seeÂ them with my own eyes.
The art of Ernest Zacharevic
Penang’s become famous for its street art thanks to the work of Ernest Zacharevic, who was commissioned to create a series of artworks across the town for the 2012 George Town Festival. They’re fun, pretty and bring the local people to life, providing glimpses into everyday goings on of the city.
I found it so much fun wandering the streets looking out for a new piece of art, it was actually a great way to explore the town and I feel that I saw so much more of what George Town has to offer this way. Sometimes it can be quite easy to find the next piece, simply follow the crowd, but I quickly learnt to keep your eyes peeled as there’s much more of offer than just Zacharevic’s masterpieces!
Marking George Town
Marking George Town is a series of 52 – yep, you read that right! – Â iron sculptures found all over the city. Commissioned by the local tourist board, these are reminiscent of ink-drawn comic book strips and each tells a story relating to the location where they’re found.
101 Lost Kittens
There’s yet another series of street artworks, and these might be my favourites, simply because they contain…cats! Yes, I am that much of a cat lady. What of it?!
101 Lost Kittens is a series of 12 pieces of artwork by a group of Malaysian and Thai artists that were designed to bring to attention the plight of stray cats. So, great art and an important issue!
Street art is transient, so for every visitor the street art of George Town may be different. Sadly some of the art has already been worn away or damaged, such as my absolute favourite featuring Bruce Lee (it used to contain three kitties), but then there’s others that local artists have added their own touches too, such as Skippy…
Finding the street art in George Town, Penang
Finding George Town’s street art isn’t that hard and it’s not tough on the feet either. The majority of the artwork is confined to a small area that’s actually really pretty to explore, with lovely little cafes and quirky gift shops to be found around every corner.
It’s tougher if you want to tick off every piece of art, and some of the larger pieces are a little more out of the way, but to help you your way I’d recommend grabbing a Visit Penang’s Guide to George Town street art as this has a very useful map!