Visit Georgetown and you’ll be mesmerised by the myriads of street murals littered across every nook and cranny of the picturesque town.
The iconic art installations, now a celebrated presence in Penang, were a part of the government’s initiative to bring out the city’s distinct identity and multiculturalism. The tactful artistry — a splendid blend of quirkiness and the vivid local dynamics, is undeniably a sight to behold!
Be prepared to be blown away by these whimsical art pieces as they bring about a local twist to the Penang street art scene.
If you’re looking for food in the area, be sure to also check out our guide on Authentic Street Food in Penang.
1) ‘Little Children on A Bicycle Mural’ by Ernest Zacharevic
Located at the tip of Lebuh Armenian just across China House, this is one of the most iconic murals in the Penang Street Arts Collection. Unknown to most, the mural is a still portrait based off actual siblings Tan Yi and Tan Kern. Lithuanian artist, Zacharevic, happened to chance upon the siblings while they were frolicking on the bike. The fateful chance encounter sparked the eventual manifestation of this very signature mural.
While the mural may not strike you at the first instance with its muted colour scheme, the looming crowds vying for a photographic opportunity would be impossible to miss!
*Pro-tip: Do drop by for a visit in the early hours of the day to avoid the crowd and be sure to hop on to the bicycle mounted alongside the mural to enjoy a ride with the sibling pair!
2) ‘I Can Help Catch Rats’ by Artists of Stray Animals
Keep a lookout for a small alley on the right as you make your way down Lebuh Armenian. Just round the corners of those funky specialty stores, you’ll spot the chromatic display!
The mural is an attempt at ameliorating the predominant bias against stray cats. The quaint illustration tastefully highlights the innate hunting abilities of cats. It hopes to inspire the community in adopting the strays off the streets and extend their homes to these little furry friends.
Looking for a pet? Perhaps consider adopting a tabby home!
3) ‘The Three Girls’ (Lorong Soo Hong)
Right ahead, you’ll spot a vibrant purple architecture coming straight up. Take a right just before the building and you’ll find yourself right before this miniature mural.
This intricate caricature is a reflection of the multiculturalism of Penang’s community. Each girl adorns her traditional cultural costume as a representative of the diversity and harmonious alimentation.
Do drop by the 3 other art installations located in its vicinity at your leisure!
*Pro-tip: If you’re looking to commemorate your street art trail, proceed to the artisanal store ahead and pick out your favourite post cards from its wide selection!
4) ‘The Peranakan Girl Holding The Joss Sticks’
Make a right on 48 Lebuh Armenian and you’ll find yourself in an alley. Take a step inwards and you’ll discover the mural located just below the altar.
The illustration is the reflection of the Peranakan community in Penang and its cultural influences.
Penang is home to the Peranakan Museum that served as the production sets to noteworthy scenes in the popular television series “The Little Nyonya”. The elements of the Baba culture are preserved stupendously within the dwelling and a visit there would definitely be an eye-opening experience!
5) ‘Merchant Hotel Mural’
Keep a lookout on your right as you head along Lebuh Muntri towards Jalan Penang. Right before you take a right turn to arrive at Merchant Hotel, you will notice the unusual red words scrawled across a white background.
The witty comment inscribed was a rather interesting utilisation of street art as it served as a deterrence to the rampant issues of illegal parking in the area.
Checkout the sarcasm there! if you get what i mean…
Gat Lebuh Chulia
6) ‘Yeoh Kong Si’
This art installation serves as a remembrance of the philanthropist Yeoh Kong Si for his charitable actions, displays of compassions and amiable disposition. We could definitely learn a thing or two from him!
*Pro-tip: On a side note, if you share the same surname as Mr Yeoh (杨) you could get an instagram-worthy shot right here!
7) ‘Children In A Boat’ by Ernest Zacharevic
The mural was previously on display across the walls of the stilt houses in Chew Jetty. The illustration depicts 2 boys sailing away on the boat, symbolical of the typical life of people living on water.
The mural is no longer available for viewing as natural elements has caused the paint to wash out.
Nevertheless, it would still be a delight to dip your toes in the sea, catch the sunset and perhaps even give crab fishing a go!
8) ‘Jimmy Choo Iron Sculpture’
Jimmy Choo began his apprenticeship in shoes designing along this very corner of the street at the Hong Kong Shoe Store that remains standing till this date. His career eventually took flight and spiralled to success as he emerged from a mere cobbler to a celebrity shoe designer following his pursuit in fashion in London.
The exemplary example of chasing your dreams indeed!
9) ‘Cats and Humans Happily Living Together’ by Artists of Stray Animals
Walk along Beach Street and spot the stunning spectaculars of Cheah Kongsi. Venture beyond those salient gates and you’ll find yourself standing across the colossal painting on your right.
The mural is a part of the 101 Lost Kittens Project — an initiative to protect the stray animals and to forge the peaceful co-habitating relations between humans and animals.
This particular illustration encompasses an unprecedented artistic direction in its 3-dimensional collaboration between arts, religion and animal rights. The mural depicts cats dressed in taoist ensembles, going on and about with the Taoist procession. An intriguing sight indeed!
Go on down and give your support to arts for a cause!
*Pro-tip: Do note that Cheah Kongsi is under temporal closure from tourist in the month of July 2017. Only visitors (for praying purposes) are allowed entry after 2pm.
The attractions listed above have been marked out on the map below for easy reference.
Read our other Penang itineraries:
– Cycling in Penang: How to cover Georgetown’s top attractions in one day
– Penang Foodie’s Itinerary: Hipster Penang
Which Georgetown Street Art is your favourite? Let us know in the comments section below!