Penang See: Street Arts of Armenian Street, Georgetown
Lebuh Armenian (or Armenian Street in Georgetown, Penang) has quite a number of street arts that existed since 2012 — when it was still a quiet old lane. Souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants sprung up around the street arts as these awesome artworks were drawing crowds to the area. Today's Armenian Street is a popular tourist spot for shopping, eat and posing with the murals. Yup, the murals are the real essence that brings life to the heart of Georgetown. These trailblazing arts also ignited the street arts culture in other Malaysian cities.
Over the course of 5 years, new ones were added to the scene while older ones faded. On a rough count, there are no less than thirty of them along Armenian Street and couple of lanes nearby.
I have so many photos of the murals I found that sharing all of them in one post will result in a long downloading time, so I segregate the contents into two articles. All murals along Armenian Street will be in this post. Murals outside Armenian Street, but still in Georgetown, will be in a separate article (use the link at the end of this post). A location map for all the murals are included at the end of this post too.
Let's check out the trailblazing murals that magically transformed Armenian Street.
1. Children on a Bicycle
Spearheading the list of murals found is none other than the "Children on a Bicycle", the most popular attraction along Armenian Street. This artwork was created in 2012 by Ernest Zacharevic, a Penang-based Lithuanian artist. This amazing creation features two painted children "sitting" on a real bicycle. The uniqueness of this masterpiece brought on a new beginning to Armenian Street.
2. Boy on a Chair
"Boy on a Chair" is another artwork by Ernest Zacharevic too. It depicts a boy standing on a real wooden chair and trying to reach for something above. The mural can be found along Lebuh Cannon. Notice Acheen Street Mosque in the background of the photo?
Ernest has another artwork known as "The Old Man" at one end of Armenian Street, but it has faded beyond recognition. You can find more of Ernest Zacharevic's artworks in other parts of Georgetown.
3. Three Cultural Girls
Although the three girls are wearing what seems like Chinese costumes, they are from different races. This symbolises the harmony between races in Malaysia and they can even put on each other's traditional costumes.
4. Teach You Speak Hokkien
This mural is right beside the "Three Cultural Girls". "Teach You Speak Hokkien" is a direct translation from "Kah Lu Kong Hokkien" with a grammar mistake — missing a "to". This is how non-English-educated local Chinese in Malaysia speak grammar-less English.
5. Lion Dance through the Wall
"Lion Dance through the Wall" was painted outside the same shop house as "Three Cultural Dolls" and "Teach You Speak Hokkien". It depicts a Chinese dancing "lion" breaking through a wall.
The "Magic" mural was painted on the folding door of a shop. That means you can get the full mural only when the shop is closed for the day. Well, that's the trick!
7. Cat at a Window
A big cat looking out of a window. This is one of the dozen artworks on cats that was installed around Armenian Street under the "101 Lost Kittens" project. Not all the artworks are paintings, some are exhibits using kitty stuffed toys. Three years after the project, most of the exhibits are either damaged or gone, leaving only the murals.
8. Girl Making Pancake
The girl is holding what seems like a utensil for making pancakes or something flat.
9. Girl with Incense Sticks
"Girl with Incense Sticks" is one the 3 murals (including No. 10 and 11) that can be found along a narrow alley, next to the shop with the "Magic" mural.
10. Let's Push
This is an interactive mural. You can either help the two men to push or lean against them and be pushed. See how creative you can be with your poses.
11. Trishaw Vendor
"Trishaw Vendor" illustrated how goods were sold traditionally in Penang. Does the mural looks funny? Yes, it is missing one of its wheel — a real bicycle wheel.
12. Floating Girl
The "Floating Girl" mural depicts a girl holding on to some floating plastic bottles.
13. The Giant Cat
This is one giant cat that is larger than any human beings. The paintwork is fading and falling apart. It will be gone soon if the artist don't touch it up.
14. Cats & Mouse
More cats. And a little mouse, which seems like it was added at a later stage.
15. We want Bao (Bun)
This 3D mural is located outside a pastry shop — Ming Xiang Tai Pastry Shop (名香泰饼家). It depicts two kids trying to reach for buns in traditional bamboo trays on a bicycle.
The same pastry shop has another mural at the rear of its Jalan Penang branch. The second mural uses what used to be a trishaw instead of a bicycle.
All the murals along Armenian Street and Lebuh Cannon are marked in red.
Most of the murals in Penang were already more than 4 years old. If you are interested in these street arts, find them before they are destroyed or faded.