Street Art Tour in Penang Georgetown

Today we would like to present you once again with a very special article or travelogue. Since Isla Holbox, Miami Wynwood and Medellín we have become huge fans of graffiti and murals. Such art makes whole cities and regions shine in a whole new light and helps many people regain their footing economically as well. 

Of course we are aware that with Medellín and Wynwood the bar for street art is already set very high, but nevertheless we went on a search for street art in Penang ourselves and discovered some great street art pieces that should also be mentioned in this article.

In many articles and on very many maps, there is often talk of 20 motifs and more, however, these have become fewer and fewer in the past months and years as the motifs have led to tourist crowds on the streets, thus paralysing everyday life in the old town of Georgetown. So mostly only the motifs that are easily accessible even without blocking the street are left.  Other artworks have been removed by the gradual administration.

When did the first Street Arts emerge in Georgetown? 

When you’re looking for the great artworks in the streets of Penang, you’ll naturally wonder how this whole street art story here in Malaysia started in the first place. The street art hype in Penang started around 2011 or 2012 when artist Ernest Zacharevic came to the old town of Georgetown and put the most famous artworks on the walls of the houses.Since then, street art has been an important factor for tourism in Penang. 

Child with the Dragon by Ernest Zacharevic in Lebuh Ah Quee Street
Child on Ernest Zacharevic’s motorbike in Lebuh Ah Quee Street
A very expressive graffiti in Georgetown
Here reality is directly connected with the paintings
Everyday scenes from the lives of Penang residents are often depicted
You can also find very unusual graffiti that are also very reminiscent of manga..
Sometimes you only discover the artworks when you take a closer look, because they have been so well incorporated into everyday life.
Most of the artworks are very realistic, but there are also some abstract works.

Street Art Map Georgetown / Penang

Are you looking for astreet art map for Georgetown?We tested a few maps during our tour, but found an official map from www.tourismpenang.net.my to be the best. Admittedly, the map is not as sexy as many tour providers offer, but all the important street art works are listed here.

The map is also available directly in PDF on the official Tourism Penang site. Just click here and you will be redirected to Street Art Map Georgetown .

The streets of Georgetown are a real highlight

Even if you might not like street art and murals as much as we do, a visit to Penang’s old town is definitely worth it. Here you will find old alleys, old shops, great restaurants and people just sitting on the streets of Penang and living into the day. Despite the many tourists, the old town has remained amazingly authentic and still has room for the real Penang in between all the new hipster eateries and modern bars and restaurants.

Blick in einen Innenhof eines alten Gebäudes

Is the street art tour of Penang worth it?

We spent about 3 hours wandering the streets of Georgetown or the old town of Penang, looking for and admiring the city’s street art. What we liked very much was the fact that many of the murals are interactive. However, at the end of the tour, we also had to admit that the murals and graffiti do not have the quality of Wynwood in Miami or Medellín. Of course, we are also aware that we are probably comparing apples and oranges when we compare South and North American artworks with street art in Southeast Asia. However, the search and the interactive participation in the paintings of Georgetown makes the tour also something very special.  When you scurry through the alleys at 30 or 35 degrees and search every corner to see if there is not maybe a great mural there has definitely its charm.

Do you need a guide for the tour? Of course, a guide can always provide more information than you can get on your own tour – but there are so many maps and information available for the street art and paintings in Georgetown that we decided against a tour and looked at the artworks on our own. We were lucky enough to be alone at some of the artworks and to be able to take some nice photos.

What we noticed with the interactive murals is that they are suffering quite a bit due to the hype. Many of the walls that have great street art are now very badly sanded and damaged. You can see very clearly here that countless people stand at the Mauser every day and take pictures of the artworks. But it is probably precisely this fact that gives street art in Georgetown its very own flair.

If Max still wore orange trousers, he would look a hell of a lot like the gentleman in the front !

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