As I mentioned in my last post, Georgetown has a variety that is indescribable. As we walk down the dirty and narrow streets of Georgetown, we are surrounded by Starbucks and big banks. Only a block later there are pre-WWII buildings with bomb damage and trees growing out the side of them. Across the street sits a glittering new mega-mall. Yet the sharp transitions are eased somewhat by the pleasant, almost randomly placed Penang street art.
One of the more common art installations around the city are the welded art pieces. They stand against walls around the city and make jokes about the location or its history. I like the idea of a modern style of iron mixed with the historic figures. It seemed only fitting in Georgetown.
One I particularly liked was the “Narrowest Five Foot Way”. Only a couple of days before seeing the sculpture I read about the Five Foot Ways in Malaysia. It is the name given to the covered walkways that line the front of the shops. They really came in handy every time it rained in KL. This particular art installation was next to what is said to be the narrowest five foot way in Penang.
Another type of street art I enjoyed in Georgetown played with some of the older elements of the town. Many of these pieces integrate the exposed bricks, damaged pipes, or broken ledges found along the streets. This, once again, cementing that odd collaboration of old and new throughout the town.
The most popular pieces around town are the ones completed by Ernest Zacharevic. He is a Lithuanian artist living in Penang. Yet again, he played with the duality of the city by creating old imagery that exposed itself to the modern world.
I’m not the die-hard street art fan that I know many travelers are, but I definitely appreciated the street art in Penang. It captured a lot of that “huh?” feeling that I wasn’t able to express and made me feel a little more comfortable in this off town.
Of course, there is some art I just don’t understand. Or maybe it isn’t meant to be interpreted.
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