Marking Georgetown @ Penang

I often wonder at the persons and personalities behind street names. But who says history has to be dull?  Sculpture At Work‘s  brilliantly witty and informative steel rod caricatures tell the colourful stories that reflected the cultural and  historical heritage of the street with lashings of humour.

You can click on any of the images below to launch the slideshow.

The idea behind Marking Georgetown’s streets was ignited when Managing Director of George Town World Heritage Incorporated  MD Maimunah Sharif was inspired by the way Seville delineated the boundaries of it’s own UNESCO World Heritage site – with orange trees.

So in 2009, a competition was launched by the Penang State Government. After a rigourous judging process that included arbiters Ng Seksan, the man behind the Sekeping Retreats, and Hijjas Kasturi, the architect that designed the iconic Tabung Haji Building in KL, Sculpture At Work scooped the top prize and was commissioned to create 52 sculptures to mark the heritage of Georgetown.

4 of Malaysia’s celebrated illustrators were tasked with bringing the stories of  the city’s lebuh and lanes to life: comix artist Julian ‘Lefty’ Kam and head of Gilamon Studio, whom I actually had the privilege of meeting; syndicated cartoonist Reggie Lee, whose satirical cartoons are syndicated by The Star newspaper; Baba Chuah, a comix artist that been published by Dark Horse Comics; and former advertising art director Tan Mun Kian.

Erected in stages, the first pieces hit the streets in 2010 and have been grabbing attentions ever since.  Of the four artists, the works of Tan Mun Kian are my favourite. Not since Lat has local caricatures brought out the giggles in me. After 2 visits to Georgetown since the works were erected, I thought I had done well, but so far I’ve only spotted 26 – half of the total 52! Looks like I have a lot more trudging around Georgetown to do….

Click here for a the complete list of iron sculptures. The Star newspaper also has a really insightful article on Sculpture At Work and the Marking Georgetown project if you want to know more.

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