George Town is one of the most well-known street art capitals of the world.

If you’re a street art enthusiast, Penang is the place to visit.  Take a walk through the city lanes and alleyways of George Town to see this amazing display of interactive street art and have some fun along the way.

Taking any opportunity to see street art is always on my to-do list, so when an impromptu trip to George Town in Penang was suggested, I wasted no time packing my suitcase.

Street art in George Town
Incredibly talented artists have created artwork throughout the city of George Town

Keep your eyes open so you don’t miss a thing – and step off the beaten track for the best.

Penang Tourism has published a great map of the street art so, plan your city walks in advance. Download your map here and follow us as we walk through the streets of George Town.

Some of the newest murals were not on the tourist map and some old favourites are tucked away in hidden alleyways, so keep your eyes open and have some fun.

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The History of Street Art in George Town Penang

George Town street art
52 iron rod street art installations throughout George Town in Penang

This outdoor art gallery owes its existence to forward-thinking city officials, as much as it does to creative ingenuity.

In 2008, the historical centre of George Town, Penang’s capital, was awarded a World Heritage Site title by UNESCO. To raise the city’s profile as fitting of it’s new title, the Penang State Government hosted a competition calling for innovative art and design ideas for it’s public spaces.
Kuala Lumpur-based firm “Sculpture At Work” won with it’s design concept of ‘voices from the people’.  The installations included 52 unique and humorous illustrations in the form of iron rod sculptures portraying long forgotten tales of the streets of Penang.
Ahlo - George Town Street Art
52 iron rod street art installations throughout George Town in Penang

In 2012 Penang’s council hired London-trained Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic to breathe new life into George Town’s inner city streets.

Kids in Penang - street-art in George Town
Who is photographing who? Big kid making off with the bike in Penang.

This project turned inner city Chinese shop-houses into a thriving tourist destination, with the street art becoming a much talked about topic among locals and visitors alike.   The six commissioned murals were inspired by the everyday people of Penang, and capture the spirit of the city through the mischievous scenes.

His work is a fascinating depiction of art interacting with the environment.

Kids on a bike - George Town street art
Love these kids getting into the street art

The iconic mural Kids on Bike put Penang on the map.  Tourists flocked to see this unique artwork, and today visitors continue to seek out the site and hop aboard the bike with these two cheeky youngsters.

Most of Zacharevic’s art-pieces are interactive, utilising real components in which enable visitors to interact with the street art.  The boy riding on the back of a decommissioned motorcycle is another of his most popular works.

This artwork is larger than life and situated over the famous “Teochew Chendul” on Jalan Penang, above the stall famous for this specialty.

Tasting the street food - George Town street art
Tasting the Street food in Penang – one of the most popular artworks in the streets of George Town

Make sure you wander down the lanes and alleyways whenever you can.

There’s often a surprise tucked away like this unexpected art installation of a traditional food cart, utilising old wheels and an old bike in the structure.  The steamer baskets are loose and can be picked up as if you’re selecting some food specialty.

Street art in George Town Penang

Take your time.  Watch the crowd as they interact with the installations.  You will be rewarded with some magnificent street art moments which will bring a smile to your face.  We had so much fun watching others.  Take your camera and enjoy the experience.