Penang Weekend: where to find street art in George Town

Headed up to Penang for a quick weekend getaway? Here’s a detailed and in-depth guide to help you find where exactly all the famous works of street art can be found in the main George Town core. For artworks outside the core area, head to this post instead.

Post updated: Feb 2016

Penang Street Art - Bicycle Kids EZ

There has been quite a boom of street art in Penang since 2012 and my last trip in 2014 when I first created this post. To make things easier for you, I’ll be recommending some routes that you can follow, as well as have a handy Google Map on hand so you can plan for short walks when exploring George Town on your own.

There’s a lot of information to take in – use this menu for a quick way to find the information. The route colours correspond to those on the Google Map above. I’m thinking of doing individual maps, but maybe later on because hell just updating this post for 2016 took me most of the day!

Menu

  1. A quick intro to the various street art projects that have coloured Penang
  2. Orange: Lebuh Ah Quee > Lebuh Pantai > Lebuh Gat Chulia
  3. Red: Lebuh Armenian > Lorong Soo Hong > Gat Lebuh Armenian > Chew Jetty
  4. Yellow: Lebuh Cannon > Lorong Lumut > Lorong Toh Aka
  5. Green: Lebuh Stewart > Jalan Muntri > Jalan Penang > Leith Street > Lebuh Chulia

If you are feeling adventurous, I have another guide to help youventure outside of Georgetown Core and other parts of Penang for more street art!


The street art in Penang can be classified into several categories below.

  • Ernest Zacharevic works: this Lithuanian artist is probably the reason why street art became such a big deal to Penang in the first place, after his commissioned work ‘Mirrors George Town’ for the George Town Festival back in 2012 became a big hit. His works are by far the most popular out of all the street art I saw, with queues forming to take pictures with these works and appearing on souvenirs quite prominently. He recently had a solo exhibition in early 2014 titled Art is Rubbish is Art, and now has works that can be found in various part of Malaysia, Singapore and Europe.
  • 101 Lost Kittens: This collection of 12 cat-related street artworks is a project by Thai artist
    Natthapon Muangkliang and Malaysian artists Louise Low and Tang Yeok Khang aimed at creating awareness towards stray animals. Here’s a quite detailed blogpost about where you can find all the 101 Lost Kittens artworks.
  • Urban Exchange 2014 and 2015: Creative space Hin Bus Depot and Urban Nation organizes an annual urban arts festival that invites both local Malaysian and prominent overseas street arts to Penang to transform the buildings with murals and street art. Beyond murals, it also brings together contemporary art and outdoor art installations to the streets of Penang.
  • Marking George Town: these 52 iron structures can be found in abundance throughout George Town, and were actually commissioned by the Penang Tourism Board to provide a fun pictoral anecdote about the history of the street it is located on, and is a rather fun way to learn a little bit about Penang’s heritage. I don’t cover that in here because the locations are already pretty well documented by the Tourism Board
  • Others: There are many different street artworks besides those listed above, some by random artists and others commissioned by the local tenants. I tried my best to find out info about these artists and credit them accordingly here, but if you do have updates, please let me know!

Resources

*Remember that street art is transient and ever-changing and I might have overlooked some spots!

ORANGE Part I: LEBUH AH QUEE (Ah Quee Street)

Start from Lebuh Cannon junction and walk down towards Jalan Pantai junction.

Penang Street Art - Ah Quee and Minion
At junction with Lorong Pit: This Marking George Town structure explains how Ah Quee street got its name. The minion next to it shouting at the yellow hydrant is pretty amusing
You should across this odd little clearing to your left. There's a bunch of random street art in this place (didn't take, too crowded!), but in particular, this one is a part of 101 Lost Kittens project, and is quite a hilarious piece. Note that I accidentally cut off another cat which is part of this artwork in the bottom left!
Off Lebuh Ah Quee: You should across this odd little clearing to your left as you walk, and there’s a bunch of random street art in this place that’s quite fun (didn’t take pictures then, too crowded!), but in particular, this one is a part of 101 Lost Kittens project, and is quite a hilarious piece called ‘The Real Bruce Lee Would Never Do This’. Note that there are 3 cats in this picture! Update Feb 2016 – this piece is looking a bit worse for wear now…
Penang Street Art - Lebuh Ah Quee Kite-Dino ErnestZ
Close to Jalan Pantai junction: Update Feb 2016 – Ernest Zacharevic came back in 2016 to do a little touching up for his various artworks, so this work that I saw fading in 2014 is now restored, yay!
Penang Street Art - Old Motorcycle EZ
Just past Ernest Z’s Boy and Dino: Another popular piece of Ernest Zacharevic’s, of a boy on a motorbike. Update Feb 2016 – The motorbike seat has seen some serious wear and tear from all the tourists pretending to perch on the back for photos, though it was patched when I saw it this time! Expect this one to be crowded as well
Penang Street Art - Lebuh Ah Quee Dragon
Just past Ernest Z’s Boy on Bike: look for some 3D sculptures on the wall – this one looks like a Chinese dragon
Penang Street Art - Lebuh Ah Quee Msia Man
Near Jalan Pantai Junction: On the wall facing Ernest Z’s work is this piece featuring a man wearing a shirt of the Malaysian flag. It’s marked with a ’27’ – anyone know who it’s by?

 

ORANGE Part II: LEBUH PANTAI (Beach Street)

Turn left at the Lebuh Pantai junction. Walk past Gat Lebuh Chulia junction. Before you reach Lebuh Pasar, you should come across a carpark on your left where you should see these two artworks quite easily:

Penang Street Art - Jalan Pantai idrawalot
I first saw German Karl Addison aka idrawalot‘s work in Sheung Wan, but his sketchy style is pretty distinctive. This huge piece on one side of the carpark is called Symbiotic Relationship for UX2014.
Penang Street Art - Jalan Pantai Fauzan Fuad
On the other side of the carpark facing idrawalot is this work by Malaysian artist Fauzan Faud, also for UX2014. The colours are pretty outstanding

 

ORANGE Part 3: Gat Lebuh Chulia

Turn back down Lebuh Pantai and walk towards Gat Lebuh Chulia. Turn left and walk towards Pengkalan Weld aka Weld Quay.

Penang Street Art - Gat Lebuh Chulia Swing
Between Lebuh Victoria and Pengkalan Weld: There is a small alleyway to the left of Gat Lebuh Chulia. This piece by Louis Gan is on the right side of the alley. Like Ernest Z’s work, this one features a 3D swing and 2D murals of children standing on it. Step by Step Lane is also painted on.
Penang Street Art - Gat Lebuh Chulia Chinese Minion
On the other side of the alley from the swing work is this Chinese style minion. Note the other minion heads on the right peeking around the door!

*on the opposite of Gat Lebuh Chulia is another alleyway. Within that one you can see another of Louis Gan’s murals, which show two kids playing basketball. I missed that this time around!

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RED Part I: CHEW JETTY

After you are done with the orange route above, continue walking down Gat Lebuh Chulia till you reach Pengkalan Weld. Turn right and walk down the road (away from the Bus interchange). You should pass various jetty entrances, stop and turn in the one that says Chew Jetty.

Penang Street Art - Grandma and Grandson
Entrance to Chew Jetty: Here’s Ahmah and Ahsoon (Grandma and Grandson) right next to the entrance to Chew Jetty. There is another mural of Ahmah and Ahkong somewhere along the pier, though I seem to have missed it >_<
Penang Street Art - Chew Jetty Boat EZ
Side of My Chew Jetty Vacation Home facing sea: If you do walk to the end of Chew Jetty, you’ll see the remnants of Ernest Zacharevic’s Children in a boat mural on the side of My Chew Jetty Vacation Home. Sad it’s gone!

 

RED Part II: GAT LEBUH ARMENIAN

Backtrack towards Pengkalan Weld and cross the road. Gat Lebuh Armenian should be directly opposite. Walk straight up the road towards Lebuh Armenian.

Penang Street Art - Stealing baos
Before Lebuh Victoria junction: on the right side of the road, this I Want Bao! mural which is next to Ming Xiang Tai pastry shop. Similar in style to the Ernest Zacharevic ones, it features an actual bicycle and bun steamers, and you can see painted buns when you peep in from the top
Penang Street Art - Fortune Cat
Past Lebuh Victoria Junction: A little further down Gat Lebuh Armenian on the left side of the road is another artwork from the 101 Lost Kittens project. It’s called “Love Me Like Your Fortune Cat”, and I suspect the same artist who drew the big rat with the Skippy artwork drew this little teeny mouse hanging on the side too
Penang Street Art - Kitten
Further down from Fortune cat: This blue kitten is a little further down, also across the street from Skippy. On the weekend, they rent bicycles from a little table in front of this kitten
Penang Street Art - Skippy
Past Blue Kitten: On right side of the road, you can’t quite miss Skippy for Penang, this huge cat mural on the wall. Skippy’s the main mascot of the 101 Lost Kittens Project. I think another artist drew in the large rat around the corner, which makes this a rather hilarious mural when you see this 2 pieces together!
Penang Street Art - Cat clothesline
Past Skippy, near Jalan Pantai junction: this little 3D sculpture of little kittens on clothes poles, also a part of the 101 Lost Kittens Project. Update Feb 2016 – Now you will see people actually hanging clothes on this piece, and the cats aren’t very intact anymore…

*another 101 Lost Kittens work entitled ‘Please care and bathe me’ is somewhere around here, though I couldn’t find it!

RED Part III: LEBUH ARMENIAN (Armenian Street)

After Gat Lebuh Armenian, cross the Lebuh Pantai junction towards Lebuh Armenian and walk all the way up. You will need to make a minor detour towards Lorong Soo Hong. This road is closed to vehicular traffic on weekends.

Penang Street Art - Lebuh Pantai Cats
Junction of Lebuh Pantai – this work ‘Cats & Humans Happily Living Together’ is actually within the grounds of Cheah Kongsi, whose entrance is along Armenian Street after the bicycle work below. You can also see the work from along Lebuh Pantai if you rather not go in, though entrance is free! These cats are in a Taoist deity procession
Penang Street Art - Kids on Bicycle by Ernest Zacharevic
Junction of Lebuh Pantai: you can’t miss most Kids on Bicycle on the right side of the street – this is perhaps Ernest Z’s most popular mural. Expect there to be a lot of people who want to take photos with this artwork! The bike is affixed to the wall, so most people either pretend to sit on the back, or chase after the bike
Penang Street Art - Three Circles Cat
Past Bicycle work: On the right side of the road there is an alleyway, where you can see this artwork called ‘I can help catch rats”, which is also part of the 101 Lost Kittens project. Go down this alleyway. I know it looks dodgy, but trust me, turn left at the end and walk straight down.
Penang Street Art - No Animal Discrimination Please
Behind Edelweiss Cafe: Congratulate yourself if you manage to find this artwork – it should be on the left side after you emerge from the back alley. This is part of the 101 Lost Kittens artworks called ‘No Animal Discrimination Please’. Keep walking straight on till you are on Lorong Soo Hong. Lebuh Armenian should be running parallel on your left
Penang Street Art - Hokkien
Along Lorong Soo Hong: It’s quite hard to miss this large purple artwork about learning to speak Hokkien, along with Hokkien phrases on the floor! It’s drawn by Malaysian artists Jim Oo Chun Hee and John Cheng (source)
Penang Street Art - Three Girls
Next to Hokkien Work: Don’t miss this tiny little piece at the corner of the Hokkien artwork! It’s so cute, and it’s not very big. Turn right and walk up Lorong Soo Hong, away from Lebuh Armenian. We’ll come back in a bit.
Penang Street Art - Lorong Soo Hong Marge Simpson
Further up Lorong Soo Hong: This work was once two minions stacked on top of each other. Now it’s Marge Simpson – I left the original work in the picture below for reference
Penang Street Art - Minions
Back in 2014, Marge Simpson was actually minions! You can see the Hokkien artwork and Lebuh Armenian in the background. Go back down to Lebuh Armenian, turn right and keep walking on
Penang Street Art - Lion Dance
Junction of Lorong Soo Hong: This is on the wall in front of the shop at the corner of Lorong Soo Hong and Lebuh Armenian that sells souvenirs. On most days except Mondays, there is a little stall to my left called 70s Ice that sells the old school dessert Ice Balls!
Penang Street Art - Magician
Before Lebuh Cannon junction: this is painted on old store shutters on the right side of the road – I’m quite tickled by the screaming girl behind me

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YELLOW: Start from LEBUH CANNON

From Lebuh Armenian junction, turn left and walk down Lebuh Cannon.

Penang Street Art - Boy on Chair EZ
Before Lebuh Acheh Junction: This is opposite the entrance to Khoo Khongsi on the right side of the street. I didn’t manage any decent pictures that showed the window properly, so here’s one of a random person while we were waiting our turn!
Penang Street Art - Lorong Lumut Old Lady JuliaV
Lorong Lumut: Go past Lebuh Acheh and turn left onto Lebuh Tok Aka. Keep walking straight until you reach the junction with Lorong Lumut. Turn right into Lorong Lumut. It’s a pretty quiet lane that sees the odd car and motorcycle go by. This mural by Julia Volchkova should come up on your left side. It’s absolutely stunning, the way the old lady looks like she’s a part of the tree!
Penang Street Art - Lorong Toh Aka Bibichun Security
Junction of Lorong Toh Aka and Lebuh Pantai: From Lorong Lumut, turn and walk back towards Lorong Toh Aka. Lorong Tok Aka splits weirdly at the junction – take the road without turning that will bring you back to Lebuh Pantai. This work is called Security by Bibichun – it faces Lebuh Pantai junction
Penang Street Art - Lorong Toh Aka Bibichun Oscar
On the other side of Lorong Toh Aka from the guardian is this Oscar the Grouch, also by Bibichun!

 

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GREEN: start from LEBUH STEWART

Ok I didn’t link this walk with the other three as it is a little bit further away. Start from Jalan Masjid Kepitan Keling and walk along Lorong Stewart.

Penang Street Art - Lorong Stewart White Tiger Twoone
Along Lorong Stewart: Keep an eye out for a very narrow alleyway on your right hand side – there is a magnificent white tiger by Japanese street artist TWOONE aka Hiroyasu Tsuri. Not the easiest to photograph because alleyway is so narrow!
Penang Street Art - Lorong Stewart Boatman JuliaV
Junction of Lebuh Klang: Look to the left and find this very large boatman by Julia Volchkova
Penang Street Art - Jalan Muntri Kungfu ErnestZ
Jalan Muntri: Walk past the Love Lane junction when Lorong Stewart becomes Jalan Muntri. Keep walking till you see Penang Ta Kam Hong on your left – Ernest Z’s Kungfu girl looms large on the wall. Somehow I missed this in 2014 despite walking past several times. I still don’t understand how I missed it.

 

Penang Street Art - Trishaw Man EZ
near junction of Jalan Penang and Jalan Muntri – Walk to the end of Jalan Muntri till you reach Jalan Penang junction. Turn right and walk till you reach a small carpark on your right. This work is on the side of the building facing the carpark. It is one of Ernest Zacharevic’s pieces and it is HUGE.
Penang Street Art - Leith Street Bao Seller
Near junction of Leith Street and Jalan Penang: Turn back down Jalan Penang, walk past Jalan Muntri until you hit the Lebuh Chulia junction. Instead of going down Lebuh Chulia, take a small detour up Leith Street to spot this little work by ‘Kang’ on the side of shophouses
Penang Street Art - Lebuh Chulia Girl Turtle Collab
Lebuh Chulia: Head back down to Lebuh Chulia, walking away from Jalan Penang. You should see Chulia Mansion on the right side of the road and if you look up, you’ll spot this girl on a flying turtle. This is a collaboration between Ernest Zacharevic and Argentinian artist Martin Ron
Penang Street Art - Lebuh Chulia Face Vexta
Chulia Mansion: On the other side of Chulia Mansion is another artwork – this one by Australian artist Vexta for UX2014. I like the simplicity, and the branch-like hair

 

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Whew if you covered all that, that is a lot of walking indeed! Stay tuned for the guide to street art outside of the core George Town area – we’ll be exploring outer areas like the south-western Balik Pulau, and even across to mainland Penang!

If you have any additions or corrections, do drop me a comment or an email please! I created this guide based on my own experiences and research, so I may have missed out some things or gotten locations wonky, so do help me make this guide better!

 

Looking for more street art? Check out my other street art related guides:

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15 comments to Penang Weekend: where to find street art in George Town

  1. Love this! I was in Georgetown in December, unfortunately I was super sick upon arrival and did not get to do much wandering about. I loved all the street art I did see and am glad to see more of it here on your site! 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment! It sucks that you were sick, but am glad I managed to let you have a peek from my blog 🙂 hopefully you can go back there again someday and see the works for yourself!

  2. The please care and bathe me cats were down the driveway/alley where the rat was hiding around the corner from the big cat. They were really cute! 🙂 I think I missed the cats and humans living together one too and I missed that minion post! haha

  3. “I want pau” mural art is painted by malaysia artist, wk setor (which u can find his signature under the painted window). TQ

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