Apart from the mouth-watering cuisine, unparalleled architectural heritage and languid pace of life, the gorgeous murals have positioned George Town, Penang, as a destination for street art in its own right. Here are my top five reasons to visit (and appreciate) the amazing murals of George Town.

1. They really are that good!

The nine murals by Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic, took George Town to the international art scene. Since then, more artists, both local and international, have created visually emotive pieces.

The “Boy on a Bike” shows a boy in a helmet sitting on a motorcycle as he looks over his shoulder. This mural is one of the biggest crowd pullers.

“Boy on a Bike” (5°24’55.2″N 100°20’19.9″E)
Canon EOS 7D Mark II | Canon EF-S18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS | ISO 200 | F/11 | 1/200s

2. There are a lot of them and they appeal to the broad public.

The murals predominantly capture a joie de vivre and a refreshing simplicity, without being mundane or grotesque. With the amount of skilfully done public art (murals, wrought iron installations, etc) that is crammed in George Town, it would be shocking NOT running into a charming mural.

“Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendol” (5°25’01.6″N 100°19’50.5″E)
Canon EOS 7D Mark II | ISO 500 | F/7.1 | 1/100s

 

3. They are a source of insight into typical life in Penang.

Embarking on a mural walk inevitably also means that one will really get to soak in the soul of Penang. While they obviously mirror the life and times, the compelling murals can be used as icebreakers to interact with the locals.

“Woman lighting Incense Sticks (5°24’55.4″N 100°20’14.4″E)
Canon EOS 7D Mark II | Canon EF-S18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS | ISO 500 | F/11 | 1/200s

“Queue for Soya Bean” (5°24’50.9″N 100°20’26.1″E)
Canon EOS 7D Mark II | ISO 400 | F/7.1 | 1/100s

“I Want Pau!” (5°24’50.9″N 100°20’26.1″E)
Canon EOS 7D Mark II | ISO 1250 | F/11 | 1/200s

“Siblings on a Swing” (5°24’51.2″N 100°20’26.4″E)
Canon EOS 7D Mark II |Canon EF28mm f/1.8 USM| ISO 320 | F/7.1 | 1/13s

4. They are not solely about the art!

These artworks have become the face of not only George Town, but entire Penang. I liked the fact there are real objects embedded into the murals. They make the experience a bit more tangible, a whole lot more memorable and encourage visitors to interact with the artwork.

“Little Children on a Bicycle” (5°24’52.6″N 100°20’17.8″E)
Canon EOS 7D Mark II | ISO 1600 | F/5.0 | 1/13s

“Little Children on a Bicycle” shows two children riding an actual bicycle, squealing in delight. Looking at the realism on their faces, it is impossible not to be affected by them. This is, hands down, the most photographed mural of George Town.

5. They may not be around for much longer!

These murals  are subject to weathering over time and occasional vandalism, so I am pleased that I could visit the ones I did.

“Smoking Lady” (5°25’14.2″N 100°19’32.6″E)
Canon EOS 7D Mark II |Canon EF28mm f/1.8 USM| ISO 1600 | F/2.5 | 1/100s