Since two years ago, the historical streets of Georgetown in Penang island have transformed into an art gallery with murals and sculptures.
A series of steel sculptures created by renowned cartoonists in Malaysia adorned the walls of pre-war buildings in this UNESCO heritage-listed town. These caricature sculptures are not merely for display but each of them has a story to tell about the history, legend, culture and tradition of people in Penang during the good old days.
With more than two dozens sculptures scattered around the busy streets of Georgetown, my friends and I decided to spend a day exploring the city on foot and find out all the sculptures. We started our day early to take advantage of the cool weather in the morning.
Jimmy Choo's humble beginning @ Muntri Street
With the help of map, we located our first sculpture at Muntri Street by Baba Chuah. What a surprise to learn that this was where Jimmy Choo - (Internationally acclaimed shoe designer) started his humble beginning as an apprentice here.
One Leg Kicks All @ Muntri Street
Also located in Muntri Street, the next sculpture was a creation of Mun Kian, entitled "One leg kicks all". According to the description, the domestic servants who came from Guangdong to Penang back then did all kinds of household chores and would refer to themselves with wry humor as 'one leg kicks all'.
Cheating Husband @ Love Lane
We had a good laugh at Love Lane when we found this hilarious caricature about 'Cheating Husband' escaping through the window. According to folklore, local Chinese said that rich men who lived on Muntri Street kept their mistress here, hence the name Love Lane.
A little history about Victoria Street
As we walked passed Victoria Street, we stumbled upon another sculpture which tells the history of Penang in the 1800s where shops and godowns (warehouses) on Victoria Street were built at the seafront.
Narrowest five foot ways @ Stewart Lane
We came across the narrowest five foot ways in Penang at Stewart Lane where we also found several steel sculptures lining up the pillars of the five foot way. It was said to be narrowest because the five foot ways was obviously less than five feet. (The term Five Foot Ways is a direct translation from Malay language which means pedestrian walkways with a width of five feet from the absolute front to the entrance of shop houses.
Example of Five foot ways, Source: Wikipedia
After discovering a few more sculptures, we took a short break for brunch in one of the many coffee shops along the way. Hawker stalls, cafes, and restaurants are aplenty in Georgetown so you don't have to worry about getting hungry during the walk.
It was a great day exploring the beautiful heritage of Georgetown aside from treasure-hunting and capturing these creative caricature steel sculptures. We enjoyed our adventure and would definitely recommend this walking tour to anyone visiting Penang.