George Town is one of the most well-known street art capitals of the world.
If you’re a street art enthusiast, Penang is the place to visit. Take a walk through the city lanes and alleyways of George Town to see this amazing display of interactive street art and have some fun along the way.
Taking any opportunity to see street art is always on my to-do list, so when an impromptu trip to George Town in Penang was suggested, I wasted no time packing my suitcase.
Keep your eyes open so you don’t miss a thing – and step off the beaten track for the best.
Penang Tourism has published a great map of the street art so, plan your city walks in advance. Download your map here and follow us as we walk through the streets of George Town.
Some of the newest murals were not on the tourist map and some old favourites are tucked away in hidden alleyways, so keep your eyes open and have some fun.
The History of Street Art in George Town Penang
This outdoor art gallery owes its existence to forward-thinking city officials, as much as it does to creative ingenuity.
Self-guided walk to explore George Town’s street-art
While these murals started out in mid George Town, the popularity of street art in Penang has quickly spread and new art works are popping up everywhere. Take yourself on a walking tour through George Town to experience it all.
Some of the murals are faded and partially damaged from the falling plaster work of the walls they’re painted on, but enjoy them as they are. It’s part of their unique appeal.
You’ll see stencils of cats walking on walls down the side of the fire station and along the window sills, murals decorating the sides of warehouses and hidden away in quaint little alleyways. Keep your eyes open so you don’t miss any hidden surprises.
In 2012 Penang’s council hired London-trained Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic to breathe new life into George Town’s inner city streets.
This project turned inner city Chinese shop-houses into a thriving tourist destination, with the street art becoming a much talked about topic among locals and visitors alike. The six commissioned murals were inspired by the everyday people of Penang, and capture the spirit of the city through the mischievous scenes.
His work is a fascinating depiction of art interacting with the environment.
The iconic mural Kids on Bike put Penang on the map. Tourists flocked to see this unique artwork, and today visitors continue to seek out the site and hop aboard the bike with these two cheeky youngsters.
Most of Zacharevic’s art-pieces are interactive, utilising real components in which enable visitors to interact with the street art. The boy riding on the back of a decommissioned motorcycle is another of his most popular works.
Louis Gan is a self-taught artist from Penang. A freelance artist, Louis was born deaf and is also mute. He gained local attention after he painted the mural Brother and Sister on a Swing when the owner of SBS (Sin Ban Seong) Paper Press asked him to paint the back wall of the printing factory.
He also painted The Brother and Sister Playing Basketball.
This artwork is larger than life and situated over the famous “Teochew Chendul” on Jalan Penang, above the stall famous for this specialty.
Make sure you wander down the lanes and alleyways whenever you can.
There’s often a surprise tucked away like this unexpected art installation of a traditional food cart, utilising old wheels and an old bike in the structure. The steamer baskets are loose and can be picked up as if you’re selecting some food specialty.
Take your time. Watch the crowd as they interact with the installations. You will be rewarded with some magnificent street art moments which will bring a smile to your face. We had so much fun watching others. Take your camera and enjoy the experience.