Fascinating and diverse street art in Penang Island amazes strangers

Penang Island in Malaysia attracts strangers like a magnet. The charming little town is now famous far beyond the country’s borders for its unique street art. Travelers also expect tranquil streets, built-up jetties, delicious food and a varied nightlife.

Fascinating and diverse street art in Penang Island amazes strangers
Fascinating and diverse street art in Penang Island amazes strangers

Strangers are amazed at the murals

The center of street art on the island is the old town of the main town with its colonial-style buildings that are well worth seeing. Murals compete with architecture. If you stroll through the narrow streets, you will see countless travelers huddling around a three-dimensional mural and taking photos. Hundreds of tourists stroll through the former colonial streets looking for street art, the newest attraction of the world heritage city.

A leisurely stroll through the old town catapults strangers into another world. Music can be heard from loudspeakers, mannequins and women are dressed in colorful saris. Street art can be seen everywhere in the larger streets as well as in the small side streets and in the narrow alleys. The diverse paintings give their surroundings a charming, incomparable ambience. In addition to the murals by famous artists from Malaysia, there are other works of art to admire.

Art is becoming more and more attractive for visitors

The appeal of the arts is why tourists no longer visit Penang Island for its famous, delicious food. Every year in November there is an art festival with workshops, a pop-up market, films and of course art exhibitions. One of the most famous works of art shows two laughing children sitting on a real old bicycle. The street artist has chosen a small boy clinging to his older sister as a motif.

Murals in Malaysia have many facets

The unexpected popularity of the murals gave rise to lively discussions among the city’s residents. Most customers who commission murals from an artist prefer photorealism. A funny or cute look is also in demand. So far, abstract images have not been accepted by the islanders. Because the murals are exposed to the hands of travelers and different weather conditions on a daily basis, the works of art fade over time. These fade changes are an essential part of the charm of street art. Some artists intended to freshen up their work, but were rethought by the appreciation of residents and travelers. Shopkeepers and the administration want the murals to continue to attract tourists. Strict rules apply in the old town. The majority of graffiti are quickly removed by the Penang authorities. This control or censorship sets limits to the creativity of street artists. Unfortunately, there are now commercial expectations of how murals should look. At the same time, the cost of making murals is increasing. As a result, many shop and home owners can no longer afford them.

Every month street artists create new pictures that give the old town a unique, new shine. This is also the reason that travelers who have already visited the island keep coming back. In the meantime, beautifully designed street art city maps are available from tourist information centers.

Particularly popular are the works of an artist who uses a special style to create his wall paintings. He skillfully combines real objects, such as chairs, motorbikes and bicycles, to create unique murals. Marveling at and photographing his works is a highlight for every art lover.

There are also plenty of other murals in the old town. Also worth mentioning are the 52 steel sculptures that fascinate tourists on Penang Island. They are an innovative public art form.