Mike Gibby with the 'Kids on a Bicycle' mural in George Town. Pix courtesy of Mike Gibby.
One of four female portraits painted by Australian street artist Rone along Jalan Nagore. Pix courtesy of Mike Gibby.
In the Balik Pulau town centre on the island, Zacharevic pays tribute in a mural to the late silversmith Fong Tan Sent who died in May this year. Pix courtesy of Mike Gibby.

GEORGE TOWN: Penang’s street art, which was made world famous by London-trained Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic, continues to be the focus of the 7th edition of the George Town Festival (GTF).

Zacharevic, who was commissioned to paint `Mirrors George Town’, a collection of murals within the inner city in conjunction with GTF 2012, made the people of Penang and her visitors view the city through different and fresh eyes.

Retired educator and Penang resident Mike Gibby has authored a book `Street Art Penang’ which will be launched tomorrow.

“Like many visitors to Penang, I began to visit, photograph and ‘collect’ the murals and sculptures. As I did so, my real introduction to both George Town and ‘greater’ Penang began,” he said in a statement.

“Quiet back lanes were explored in the hunt for new artworks; turning each corner brought a sense of discovery. A journey around George Town became a glorious treasure hunt.’”

In `Street Art Penang Style’ which is presented by home grown book publisher and distributor, Entrepôt Publishing Sdn Bhd, the evolution of George Town’s unique murals is explored and described, from the earliest ‘pre-Zacharevic’ paintings to the diverse and colourful street scene of today, along with information on the various artists involved.

Apart from Zacharevic, a host of local and international artists are also represented in the book and they include Baba Chua, Julian ‘Lefty’ Kam, Reggie Lee, Tang Mun Kian, Louis Gan, Simon Tan, Vexta, Rone, Karl Addison, Don John, Bibi Chun,Takayuki Miyazono, Julia Volchkova, Encik Osman, Kikuchi Mitsuo, Mukai Katsumi, Hitori Nakayama, Heng Eow Lin, Femke Ligthart, Tai Kai Sheuan, Tan Vooi Yam, Jim Oo Chun Hee, Willie Loh, Tang Yeok Khang, Louise Low, Natthaton Muangkliang, Chan Lian Kiew, Sabek, Tom Powell, Mike Makatron and several anonymous contributors.

“Street murals,” noted the book’s publishers “are no longer merely the personal expression and creation of an individual – they embrace diverse forms that support an ecosystem of businesses, small and large. They have transcended their original context, and help define the island’s identity.

“Mike Gibby,” it added, “also pushes boundaries and challenges us to consider ‘what constitutes street art?’

“Penang’s street art is indeed not limited to these modern, transitory murals, many of which are already fading or have crumbled away. There are many vibrant sculptures and commemorative works that enliven the environment and tell of the changing aspirations of Penang’s population. These too have their place and enliven our street scene.”