Penang Street Art

Penang Street Art

I was pondering whether to make a flying visit to Penang or not, but as soon as I read that the city is a street art hub, I knew I had to go. My fascination with street art began the first time I lived in Nepal, in 2013. A big project, Kolor Kathmandu, had just been completed, and the colourful murals by Nepali and international artists could be seen scattered around town. Urban Kathmandu is certainly not pretty, so the street art is a great way of making public spaces a bit more attractive. Penang, on the other hand, is a gorgeous city. The street art there has a different history and purpose. That’s what I find so fascinating about the art form. It’s as diverse in its aesthetic and purpose as any art you can find in galleries. My guidebook told me that I could get a map of the Penang street art from a tourist information centre. I saw a lot of people walking around with these maps. But I decided I didn’t want to follow a map. One of the attractions of street art for me is coming across it unexpectedly. Taking a taxi somewhere I might see a mural, and mentally note down to go back later on and photograph it. Or taking a short-cut down a side-street might lead to something beautiful. I spent most of the week I was in Penang wandering fairly aimlessly anyway, because it’s such an attractive town. So the photographs…

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street art in Melbourne

Melbourne Street Art

In Australia, the Melbourne street art is famous for its vibrancy and creativity. The best examples–or at least, the most dense concentration–can be found in the narrow streets between buildings opposite the Flinders Street Railway Station. What’s especially cool about this area is that lots of little cafes and cake shops have set up amidst the street art. Or perhaps it was they who were there first? It’s not spacious or comfortable, but it’s funky, and like most places in Melbourne, you can get a killer cup of coffee.

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Street Art in Canberra: Australian Insects

These seriously big Australian insects were photographed in the Canberra inner-north suburb of O’Connor in summer 2012. As far as I’m aware, they’re still there, but I haven’t been in Canberra for almost two years. They can be found on the streets near the O’Connor shops. I like that they’re painted on electricity boxes, an otherwise ugly but necessary part of the suburban landscape. One of the greatest functions of street art is its ability to make even the most utilitarian things look more attractive. I’m not Canberra’s biggest fan, but even that unimpressive city can be quite lovely on a mild summer’s day.

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The Bagmati River Street Art Project

The Bagmati River Street Art Project

Last week I went on a street art walk with a friend who had found the remnants of a 2014 street art project in the Bhaisighat slum, on the north bank of the Bagmati River. I was a bit wary of walking down there–not because of the poor conditions of the area per se, but because it is right by the river. I should write ‘river’, because the Bagmati River is nothing more than an open sewer these days, a deplorable condition for a so-called holy river to be in. My friend had found this concentration of street art after noticing the Kolor Kathmandu mural of a red panda near the river, and gone out searching for more. She assured me that it wasn’t too smelly down there. (She was mostly right.)

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Street Art in Hyderabad: Shi'ite Mosques

Street Art in Hyderabad: Shi’ite Mosques

This street art in Hyderabad, India, of Shi’ite mosques, is one of the most intriguing murals I’ve come across on my travels. In 2010 I was in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, doing research. The Muslim inhabitants of this city are predominantly Shi’ite (the same form as practiced in Iran), whereas the majority of India’s Muslims are Sunni. This gives the Islamic monuments of the city quite a different feel to much else that is found in India. Hyderabad contains a lot of old beauty, among the new developments and shopping malls. These murals depict Shi’ite mosques around the world, and was on the outskirts of the old city, in the vicinity of the famous Char Minar–a large gate with four minarets. I don’t know if these murals are still there, as I haven’t been back to Hyderabad since. Does anyone know? For other examples of street art in India, take a look at my other posts.

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