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]

Street Art - Tokyo x London

Took the quickest route for a moment of brief escapism since google maps wouldn't load without internet access. Instead, I found myself skipping along these colourful lanes, which pretty much left my daydream swirling like milkshake with too many flavors.

These are some pictures of street art spotted in Tokyo and London from my previous visits. 

Shoreditch, London  Work by Phlegm

Shoreditch, London

Work by Phlegm

Bricklane, London  Work by Roa

Bricklane, London

Work by Roa

Bricklane, London  Work by Marlark

Bricklane, London

Work by Marlark

Bricklane, London  Portrait of an Indian man by Jimmy C

Bricklane, London

Portrait of an Indian man by Jimmy C

photo (11).JPG
Shoreditch, London  Work by Stik

Shoreditch, London

Work by Stik

Harajuku Street, Tokyo

Harajuku Street, Tokyo

Harajuku JR, Tokyo

Harajuku JR, Tokyo

Harajuku Street, Tokyo   

Harajuku Street, Tokyo

 

Shimokitazawa, Tokyo

Shimokitazawa, Tokyo

Shimokitazawa, Tokyo

Shimokitazawa, Tokyo

Shimokitazawa, Tokyo

Shimokitazawa, Tokyo

Koenji, Tokyo

Koenji, Tokyo

Koenji, Tokyo

Koenji, Tokyo

Aoyama, Tokyo

Aoyama, Tokyo

What I love about street art is the pleasant surprise whenever you discover one. It is art that is accessible to everyone, art with a value in the society. Some stop you in your tracks to admire the beautiful paintings, while others might make you trip over dislodged manhole covers as you mull over their messages. Perhaps this is why Singapore is a graffiti free zone.

Drawing a comparison between street art in these two major cities, you can see their majorly distinct styles that echoes the subculture of the cities. While street art in London adopt a more socio-political tone, Tokyo street art borders on the eccentric with characters inspired by Japanese folklore and superstitions. Regardless of the styles that sets them apart, these accessible art forms provide a momentary change of scenery, adding life to a concrete city. Taking a different route to the supermarket to get eggs is now more exciting than ever. Or should I say... eggciting.

Looking through these pictures definitely piqued my interest in reading up more about the street art/graffiti culture. Having grown up in Singapore where self expression is being frowned upon, and graffiti art is considered taboo or illegal, the first question that pops into mind when I see this amazing street art is – "How do these people paint in the dark??" It is comforting to know that street art movement is so widely embraced in other parts of the world and with a place in certain societies, these artists don't have to paint in the dark. (hurrah!)

Of all the cities I've been to so far (not many unfortunately) I would say that London has the best street art scene. So if you are heading to London and you love street art, I suggest you bring your personal roll of 'Caution' tapes to cordon off the spots on the streets where you can plonk your tripods and cameras as the hip places can get pretty crowded. Street art can be found in various parts in London, not just the popular spots like Shoreditch or Brick Lane. This link could be useful, and a street art tour seems like it could be a fun thing to do. ☺ 

••• 

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and I'm like ...... excuse me you're damaging my astro turf.