After a slightly boring travel day, we were ready to get out and explore.
We like to visit museums on our trips, but what we found on the streets of George Town, Penang was next level artsy goodness.
Some of the most well-known artwork in Penang are murals, but there are also a lot of quirky wrought iron caricatures placed throughout the city. I was surprised to find that the street art is a fairly new development within the last ten years, but it still fits perfectly with its surroundings.
Obviously, the normal wear and tear of weather has done a number on a lot of the murals, but it added even more charm and character to them, making it one of the highlights of our time in Penang.
There’s a lot of information out there about the artists, but here’s a quick overview:
Born in Lithuania and trained in London, Ernest Zacharevic was chosen to create a series of eight murals throughout George Town in 2012. His art has also been featured in other cities around the world, but his murals featured in Penang garnered him world recognition.
Visitors to Penang can follow the Ernest Zacharevic walking trail that passes by each incredible painting. Many of them (Like Children on a Boat) have deteriorated over time because of the weather, but a few have been updated and retouched throughout the years.
Sculpture At Work:
Sculpture At Work is a design/art studio that won the Marking George Town: An Idea Competition for UNESCO World Heritage Site design contest in Penang. Their concept was to depict the culture and history of Penang using wrought iron caricatures. A lot of them explain why certain things were named (like Nasi Kandar), and also give insight into what Penang was like in the past.
It’s hard to miss these sculptures, and they pop up at the most unexpected times. Finding them was definitely a highlight of our visit!
Of course, Zacharevic and Sculpture At Work are not the only artists that have contributed to the thriving art scene in George Town.
Artists like Desmond Yeo, Louis Gan, and members of the Artists for Stray Animals (ASA) have also created beautiful artwork throughout the city.
Now Let’s See Some Art!
There’s honestly so much artwork throughout the city that it was almost impossible to document it all. I’m also not completely sure what the name of each mural/sculpture is, but I tried my best to find as many names and artists as possible. These are some of our favorites:
How Do I Find it All?
As I was typing this post up and doing more research on each mural/sculpture, I realized just how much artwork we missed! We definitely hit a lot of the more well-known pieces, but there are so many other cool ones that we didn’t even know existed! I’m getting some serious FOMO vibes just thinking about it. But to save you from missing out on art in Penang, here are a few great maps and resources to help guide you on your visit:
- Google Map of George Town
- Tourism Penang Street Art Brochure
- Ernest Zacharevic Walking Trail
- The Next Somewhere has a ton of great information on the art + a cool interactive walking guide!
If you visit George Town and don’t make time to check out the art scene, you are missing out! It was so inspiring to see art so deeply embraced by the city, and that it’s definitely not going away any time soon.
Being able to walk down random streets and finding something so enjoyable that was also free, was such a cool experience. It really helped us connect with Penang, and added so much value to our travels.
If you’ve been to George Town, what is your favorite piece of artwork?