Penang : Georgetown (II)

date: July 2014
Destination: Malaysia, Penang

[Part 2: art]

It isn't hard at all to imagine Georgetown to be a home for the arts – characterised by years of history and its rich heritage, the rustic appeal of the place adds extra charm and character.

In the recent years, Penang has become a popular tourist spot among the youngsters. With Ernest Zacharevic doing his  art residency in Penang, people from all over the word adjourn to join in the hunt for murals by Zacharevic scattered across the island. These murals are whimsical, and heartwarming  – it is admirable how a Lithuania-born artist is able to succinctly capture the spirit of an islander's way of life.

It is obvious that tourism has become very much integrated into the locals' lives and street art tours are very popular among the tourists, ourselves included. Everywhere we went, shops are selling souvenirs, street art guides were given out, and all you have to do to track down that particular mural was to ask a local and they would tell you exactly where it is.

However it was no joke exploring in this intense heat, I have never perspired so much since my visit to Cambodia. I am so glad to have gone on this trip with my two friends, Lynette and Yahui, who willingly accommodate to my pleas to seek refuge while I was at the brink of self-incinerating. The hashtag for our trip on Instagram is also pretty much self-explanatory.  #sweatdripsdownmy_____.

While  we are not trying to cool ourselves down from the sweltering heat in air-conditioned cafes, we are out mural/street food hunting. We have had a lot of fun fooling around, taking pictures with the street art and trying to create our own stories in the depicted scenes. Here are some pictures from our mural hunting excursions  –

Hin Bus Company
65, 52, Jalan Gurdwara, Georgetown, 10300 Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

I always had a penchant for old spaces that are given a new lease of life. This converted art space was formerly a bus deport, and this was where Ernest Zacharevic held his first solo exhibition. When we got there, most of the art pieces were sold and no longer on display but the large scale drawings that Zacharevic left in that space were equally impressive.

For the fact that we were mainly in Georgetown the entire trip, you can tell that there were a plenty of hidden alleys for us to explore, and more than enough cafes to visit to keep us cool and entertained.

In the final part of this Georgetown Trilogy (name coined by Yahui), I'll be sharing a list of cafes and food that we have conquered over the past few days. So, stay tuned. :-)

Georgetown Trilogy : Part I [sight], Part II [art], Part III [food]

Penang: Georgetown (I)

date: july 2014 
destination: malaysia, penang

[part 1: sight]

Penang may be a mere 2hrs flight away from Singapore, but it was traveling back to a time reminiscent for my parents and grandparents.

Georgetown, has been listed as one of the UNESCO conserved site in the world. In recent years, the island has drawn crowds from all over the world with a reputation of its thriving art scene. Its rustic, untouched beauty reserved a part of history for all to explore. As the lustre of the town slowly faded with time, certain parts of the town is so dilapidated and left abandoned. However, it is not uncommon to see the poor making a home out of the rubble. Everywhere we went, we see old folks peering inquisitively out of their gate, a little shy and perhaps precarious about the fast changing world outside of the place they have called home for so many years. This might be a very naive thought, but I'm really hoping that tourism would help improve the lives of the islanders as Penang is largely made up of an ageing population where the old people get very little government support. :-( 

The picturesque appeal of the town was undeniable. Time has evidently left its mark on the town, with its washed-out concrete exteriors and the muted pastel palette painted across the town. We found ourselves surrounded by the beautiful typography embellished in old signages, layers of textures and patterns at every corner. It was simply impossible to put the camera away. As a result, I have like a million pictures from the 4-day trip which is actually the reason why I found it so hard to blog about it. I can only resort to splitting the trip into 3 different posts to cater to the various categories of interest, so here's the first one introducing the colours and texture of the little island. Enjoy :-)

Georgetown Trilogy : Part I [sight], Part II [art], Part III [food]