Art Attack: The Street Art of Penang
There are three main reasons why Street art is my favorite kind of art. For starters, it is for everyone. Street art is not pretentious. It isn’t housed in a sterile environment. You don’t need a ticket or an invitation to enjoy what street art has to offer. This type of art thrives where people go about their daily activities. The fact that it is just as accessible and engaging to a kid going to school as it is to a CEO on her way to work is incredibly appealing.
Secondly, Street Art changes over time. So many artworks have people who make a living hovering over them, ushering people away who dare to get too close. Street art welcomes change. The art, like any living entity that surrounds it, changes and eventually fades away. The more loved a particular work of street art is, the more apt to decay it becomes.
Thirdly, usually street art isn’t for sale. Where the artist created it is where it stays. It is site specific and hopefully won’t go home with a wealthy patron at the end of the day.
The Street Art in George Town, Penang is especially unique as it began when Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic was commissioned by the Penang Island Municipal Council in conjunction with the 2012 George Town Festival to create some Street Art murals. Since then it has taken off, incorporating more artists and becoming a much beloved facet of the city.
Many of the works are tucked away behind buildings, but once you find them they invite you to participate, interact, and become part of the work.
In George Town corners like the one below, which you ordinarily wouldn’t look twice at, become engaging photo ops for crafting memories that you won’t soon forget.
In this special area of Penang where Street Art thrives even the little things we see every day and perhaps take for granted become points of contemplation. Street Art jolts you out of your everyday experience and turns the mundane into something really unique.
Photos and Text by Melany Zwarjtes