At this point, it’s not a surprise to many that George Town, Penang is home to a variety of street art. In fact, a lot of people specifically plan to visit for exactly that reason: to discover the hidden streets and alleyways that this artwork is found on. The street art in George Town comes in many varieties and has been completed by multiple artists, however the original project came to life in 2012 when the municipal council hired Ernest Zacharevic to brighten up the town. He was commissioned to create a handful of murals to showcase everyday life in Penang. The unique, sometimes larger-than-life artwork found throughout the city has put Penang in the global spotlight: George Town street art is a must-see for all visitors.
George Town Street Art: Mirrors George Town
Ernest Zacharevic is a Lithuanian artist who lives in George Town. He was asked by the city council to create a handful of murals throughout George Town for a project called Mirrors George Town for the upcoming Penang George Town Festival. This project’s aim was to attract more tourists to the area, but also to shine light on the city’s unique heritage (it is a UNESCO heritage sight, after all). Although this was the first stage of street art, many other artists followed after and you’ll now see plenty of different forms of street art throughout the city.
Where to find the street art
When I was in George Town many years ago, I aimlessly wandered around and saw whatever street art I happened to stumble upon – such a shame considering he had just completed the project when I went. This time around, I did some research ahead of time and found this blog that put together a map of where to find Ernest Zacharevic’s murals (though I did end up missing two and one has since been removed).
Make your way around George Town by foot – it will likely take at least half a day, if not more, to visit all of the street art if you’re going at a leisurely pace. I was there in April and it was incredibly hot, but we did manage by foot (and by random stops inside 7-11 to cool down!). An alternative method is to rent bicycles for the day and go around if you’re pressed for time and are interested in exploring other parts of the city in the same day.
“The Awaiting Trishaw Paddler”
“Little Girl in Blue”
“Little Boy with Pet Dinosaur”
“Boy on a Bike”
“Little Children on a Bicycle”
Stay tuned for my next piece on all of the other artwork we stumbled upon while exploring George Town!