Judging by the number of people photographing it,
Little Children on a Bicycle looked to be the most
popular of Zacharevic's George Town murals
function of teaching some Hokkien words! -- by Penangites
Jim Oo Chun Hee and John Cheng
that's the title of this mural by ASA
A few months ago, I happened across a travel blog called Twenty Years Hence that features beautiful photographs and captivating writing by Stephenie Harrison and Tony Kuehn. In late February, they posted about their Penang experiences, and I found myself being intrigued not only by their impressions of familiar sights (and foods) but also by their having highlighted street art that I hadn't previously come across.
Having told myself that I wanted to check them out the next time I returned to Penang, I was amused when, on my recent visit back to the island of my birth, an old friend told me -- without my asking her -- that there were some interesting murals in the heritage sections of George Town that she wanted to show me. Thus it was that one morning, the two of us went for a lookaround cum stroll in the city (that culminated with a visit to the E&O Gallery).
Starting in Armenian Street, I found the area to be bursting with more activity than on my previous visits. While some might complain that it's become more touristy than before, my feeling is that it also seems less seedy and down at heel than before. In other words, the noticeable change seems more for the good than bad.
As for the street art itself: I really liked what I saw -- be they works by foreign-born or native Penang artists. Much of them have an attractive creativity and humor to them -- and, to my mind, add color and interest to the urban landscape. Best of all, I like how so much of them possess culturally appropriate subject matter and are so much more than just spray painted initials or, worst of all, angry graffiti. All in all, the works reflect well on those who created them, and also the culture, society, city and state that look to have inspired them.