Tuesday, 18 September 2012

George Town's street art

I can firmly declare that I do not know Ernest Zacharevic and neither does he know me. But like many Penangites, I do know who he is. And he is the one artist that has single-handedly turned George Town into the hippiest and most happening city in the country. He had landed in Penang several months ago, intending to stay for only a few days, but ended up staying for a good many months.

Inspired by the cultural heritage he saw around him, he sought permission from the Penang Island Municipal Council to put his paint brushes to good use. The first of his many wall murals was this giant painting, in Muntri Street, of a young girl perched on top of two windows.

Muntri Street

From that first mural, he went on to create several others. I can't say that I like them all, though. But I wouldn't even want to say which are the ones I like because one man's meat is obviously another man's poison and so, I shall leave it to other Penangites and of course, the tourists who had made a beeline to these murals, to pass their own judgments. But here they are, the rest of them (well, at least most of them), in no particular order of preference:

Cannon Street
Armenian Street
Armenian Street
Ah Quee Street
Ah Quee Street
Chew Jetty
Penang Road

As an aside, maybe I should also mention that the Quah Kongsi missed out on a golden opportunity to be part of this giant project. The Kongsi owned a building in Armenian Street and the organiser of this year's George Town Festival had written in for permission to paint on the side of the building. Unfortunately, the previous president of the association was well known to us for his procrastination and although the letter was received sometime in May or June, he did not bother to raise it up with his committee. Nobody else was aware and when I finally learnt of it, it was already much too late to reply to Joe Sidek. Wouldn't it have been fantastic to add to this fine collection in George Town?

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