Things To Do In Penang – Street Art In Penang
One of the Things To Do in Penang was wander around George Town, and find the famous Street Art in Penang. It was great fun because it was going on a treasure hunt. When in Penang, it is something we simply must do. And so must you!
After enjoying the Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul, we felt refreshed and re-energized from the long drive. We had heard so much about the famous Street Art in Penang. And our goal was to find as many of the famous illustrations as possible.
In this article, I will share with you a little bit of how the mural art came about? Who are the artists? Where is the street art located? And most importantly, did we manage to find them all? Continue reading to find out.
Street Art in Penang – The Video
As usual, we shot as many videos as we can of this phenomenon. There is a street view to show you where this place is, and to help you identify the location. And, of course, we captured as many of the street art as we could. Watch the video to see how many we managed to find.
Street Art in Penang – About & History
After Kuala Lumpur, Penang is the next top destination in Malaysia. She is famous for her white sandy beaches, rich heritage and culture, and the wide range of delicious food.
In 2008, George Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is due to the her being like a living museum. The streets are filled with buildings that are in it original state, and rich with culture. Since this award, George Town has attracted thousands of tourists.
To enhance the status of being a World Heritage Site, the City of Penang held a competition to add signages to this living museum. This resulted in Iron Wrought Structures placed strategically around the town. Read The Beautiful Wrought Iron Works section below for more information.
The next level of creating this living museum was the addition of beautiful street art. Read the next section – The Beautiful Illustrations for more information and photos of some of these awesome murals.
Tip: There are walking tours – check with your hotel
Street Art in Penang – The Beautiful Illustrations
In fulfilling the concept of George Town as a living museum, Illustrations by Ernest Zacharevic from Lithuania were painted on walls of the many charming old buildings. The famous artist created large and fabulous murals that transformed the old town into an open air gallery. Tourists from all over the world travel here to see these amazing works of art and to take photos and selfies of them.
And we were one of those tourists! Well, short of selfies. We captured these beautiful works of art in photos and video. If you have not yet, do Watch the Video above.
Tip: If you are visiting during the hot season, make sure you have a bottle of water with you at all times. It can get very hot during the day. Alternatively, stop once in a while to catch a break and enjoy the local coffee, tea and snacks at the local coffee shops.
Ready for the Street Art in Penang tour? Let’s go!
It was not easy to take the photo below. There were so many people queuing to pose with it. This was because this was one of the more famous and popular street art titled Children on Bicycle.
Don’t they look so happy and carefree?
Here was another street art that is very popular. Again, lots of people queuing to pose with it. I had to quickly capture between the posers. It was the Boy on Motorcycle.
The emotion on the faces of this mural art and the one above. The words unspoken but revealed from the body language and body postures. Of this, the above, and all the street art. I find they speak volumes. Don’t you agree?
I really liked this when I first saw it. It was full of energy and color! So apt for Lion Dance. It was located at a shop selling ice balls (a local dessert that was like snow cones).
It took a while for us to find this famous mural. It was Boy On Chair. It was not located near the other street art. You have to do a bit of exploring to find this one.
This next one was intriguing. I wonder what all the blue color was about? Anyone knows? If you do, please enlighten me and leave me a comment?
Also, my friends told me this was a famous street art. But it was not featured on any list of famous street art in hotel literature. So, not sure if it was famous. Again, if anyone knows, please leave a comment?
The Three Chinese Dolls were really pretty! And the size of this mural is really small. So, you have to really keep your eyes peeled to find it. Watch the video to see where to find it.
The above street art were mostly in one block area. To see more street art, you have to move to other blocks just next to it. The Love Me Like Your Fortune Cat was found in one of the blocks nearby.
In the same block as the one where Love Me Like Your Fortune Cat was found, we discovered the famous Skippy street art. Sadly, the elements had not been kind to this awesome artwork. What used to be a giant homage to a famous cat, painted with brilliant orange, is now a faded ghost like image.
Skippy is famous. He was a rescue by LASSie, an animal shelter. Due to a detached left paw, he walked on three legs with a skip. That was how he got the name Skippy.
The people of Penang seemed to love cats. There so many street art featuring cats of all sizes, colors and breeds. There was even a shop filled with everything that has a cat image on it; cups, t-shirts, souvenirs, etc.
There were even a few cute paintings of cats on the walls. Here is a photos of one of them. Watch the video to see more.
Street Art in Penang – The Beautiful Wrought Iron Sculptures
A competition in 2009 titled “Marking of George Town” was won by Sculpture at Work. It proposed 52 steel rod caricatures called “Voices From The People”. These art installations would mark places that are significant and provide stories of the people and important events.
There were many Wrought Iron Sculptures. We captured quite a few, and featured them in the video above. Here was one of them.
It told the story of the old days when hawkers sold food using a carrier like that shown in the sculpture. This particular hawker was selling a popular local fare called Nasi Kandar.
This sculpture caught my eye, and illicit quite a few giggles from others who spotted it. It told the story of a tourist taking a trishaw ride. The trishaw is moved by a man pulling it at the front.
Here, the humor is that trishaw puller did not notice the street manhole and fell into it. The tourist reaction is hilarious!
I noticed many of the street art, particularly the Wrought Iron Sculptures, injected a bit of local humor. Plus, the characters were ‘drawn’ with exaggerated expressions and body language.
Street Art in Penang – The Alternative
As the entire town became a living museum, and the streets evolved into an open air museum, I could see others, artists or not, inspired to create their own works of art on the walls. Here is a wall filled with old posters.
The posters were advertisements from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. I could spot a few famous people such as Teresa Teng, Marilyn Monroe and Bruce Lee. Perhaps you can find more? Watch the video for the full length of the wall and all the posters to find who you can identify?
We had so much fun searching for as many street art as we could. I am sure we did not find them all. Perhaps you can find more than us? Do take a look at the video for the full number of murals we spotted. Then come back and let us know which we missed out that you were able to find by adding a comment.
Where is Street Art in Penang?
Now where is the fun if I told you where to find each street art?
The best part about this attraction is the hunting. So I decided to just give you a clue. Just like any treasure hunt, you get to know where one of the most famous street art is – the Children on Bicycle.
This particular illustration is sort of in the middle of all the other famous street art. If you can find this one, you can find the rest. With that in mind, you can use the map below to navigate to the area where the street art is.
There is no real operating hours here. These are paintings on the walls of buildings in public spaces. So, in a sense, it is open 24 hours, 7 days a week.
It is just that it is better to look for these masterpieces during the day.
Practically the whole of George Town, Penang, Malaysia
There is no one contact number to call. For more information, you can check with your hotel or talk to someone at the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Penang.
How To Get There?
This is the best option. The street art are spread over a few blocks. So, it would be better to explore and find them on foot.
This is a small town. There are no train services. And there are no trains to this place.
There are local buses, but information on their routes and stops are not well provided. Better to go by car, taxi or Grab.
If you drove to Penang, you are at an advantage. Traffic is not as heavy as cities such as Kuala Lumpur. Navigating around is easy, especially if you have Waze app. Also, there are some street art that are a little far off from the others. This can help speed up the search.
They rarely go by meter. If you choose to go by taxi, sometimes it may be better to book them for the afternoon or day. This way, you can be assured of getting a ride back to the city, as and when you like it.
Tip: Negotiate and agree on a price before you take the taxi.
This is my preferred option. One reason is that there is no need to negotiate. Another is that the price is usually reasonable and affordable. No hassles.
It is so easy to travel around in cities now because of Grab. Just download the app, state your destination, a driver is assigned to you, take the transport, and you arrive at your destination. Comfortable and easy.
I have switched to Grab for my travels within a city ever since this option became available.
If you have ANY questions about this article, ANY at all, please submit your questions as comments below. I will be happy to help you out.
Thank you for reading this.
Wishing you and your loved ones safe and happy travels,