Penang Street Art Painting Step by Step Walking Guide (What to See and How to Get There) Part 1: Lebuh Armenian and Lebuh Cannon2 January, 2016
When you are in Penang, besides trying out the Penang street food scene like the best Penang char kway teow or the best Hokkien Har Mee, you should also not miss the Penang street art murals – some of the most famous ones are painted by Ernest Zacharevic during the 2012 GeorgeTown Festival. Other Penang local artists have since also joined in painting some of Penang’s beautiful street art murals too.
There are a lot of guides and maps to Penang street art murals. However after compiling and printing out most of them, I found them quite lacking in terms of details of how to get there and sometimes the places where the street art murals are marked out are not accurate. Thus, I have compiled this walking guide for you below to show you step by step how to get to these Penang street art murals. This is an almost complete guide to Penang Street Art Murals because the street art scene is always changing with new paintings coming up at one corner or old paintings being worn down by vandalism or just weather. I will start by covering in Part 1 of this guide – Penang street art murals you can find along Lebuh Armenian and Lebuh Cannon.
You can download this Penang Street Art Hunt Step by Step guide in pdf format document below. Just Facebook “like” or tweet to download your guide to Penang Street Art around Lebuh Armenian:
If you are looking for a 4D3N Penang Georgetown trip itinerary, you can download the itinerary here.
To start off your Penang Street Art Hunt – ask the driver to drop you off at “little children on a bicycle” street art if you are taking a taxi or Hotel Jen’s 4-hour Penang Chauffeur Drive service or if you want to be more specific, at the junction of Lebuh Armenian and Lebuh Pantai.
These are the Penang Street Art Murals featured in this street art hunt step by step blog post – you may click the specific street art name to find out where to go.
- Little Children on a Bicycle at Lebuh Armenian (Penang Street Art by Ernest Zacharevic)
- I Can Help Catch Rats (by 101 Lost Kittens) at Lebuh Armenian
- No Animal Discrimination Please at the back of Edelweiss Cafe
- Three Chinese Dolls or Cultural Girls at Lebuh Armenian
- Marge Simpson Bollard (used to be Minions) at Soo Hong Lane (Penang Street Art by Ernest Zacharevic – not confirmed)
- Lion Dance Breaking Out of Wall at Lebuh Armenian
- Magician at Lebuh Armenian
- This Old Man at Lebuh Armenian (Penang Street Art by Ernest Zacharevic)
- Little Boy Reaching Up at Lebuh Cannon (Penang Street Art by Ernest Zacharevic)
- Cats & Humans Happily Living Together or Cats in a Procession around Cheah Kongsi ground along Lebuh Pantai
- Skippy Giant Cat at Gat Lebuh Armenian
- Giant Rat Lurking Around the Corner at Gat Lebuh Armenian
- “Please Care and Bathe Me” Cat at a Lane off Gat Lebuh Armenian
- Blue Kitten at Gat Lebuh Armenian
- Love Me Like Your Fortune Cat at Gat Lebuh Armenian
- I Want Pau at Gat Lebuh Armenian (Ming Xiang Tai Pastry Shop)
- Cat Kicking Minion at Lebuh Victoria
This Penang street art mural map provides an overview of where the 10 street art paintings can be found at Lebuh Armenian and Lebuh Cannon – the highlighted route shows the path you can take to reach these paintings.
1. Little Children on a Bicycle at Lebuh Armenian (Penang Street Art by Ernest Zacharevic)
The “Little Children on a Bicycle” street art mural is painted by Ernest Zacharevic himself and is the most famous and most photographed of all street art paintings in Penang. You can expect huge crowds when tour groups are offloaded nearby – upon arrival, you should quickly get into the queue to take photos with “Little Children on a Bicycle” (usually starts from the back wheel of the bicycle) while these tour groups are still slightly disoriented and trying to organise themselves. There are also a number of souvenir vendors just opposite the murals so the whole place will be quite noisy. There are a lot of vehicular and bicycle traffic along the road right in front of the mural so be careful too!
Bonus photography tip for you – if you intend to take pictures with the “Little Children on a Bicycle” street painting, the colour of your clothes should not be too bright (like bright blue or red or green) or else you will be the one standing out in the photo (as the painting has faded quite a bit). The lady in the picture below blends in very nicely with the street painting. This similarly applies to other street art murals around Penang.
2. I Can Help Catch Rats (by 101 Lost Kittens) at Lebuh Armenian
After you are done with all your selfies and wefies with Little Children on a Bicycle, walk along Lebuh Armenian and look through the five footways of the shophouses along Lebuh Armenian (on your right) and you should be able to spot the next mural “I Can Help Catch Rats” where you can see a cat prancing upon a rat. This mural is supposed to encourage locals to keep cats as pets to help catch rats. Also part of the 101 Lost Kittens Project.
3. No Animal Discrimination Please at the back of Edelweiss Cafe (by 101 Lost Kittens)
After the “I Can Help Catch Rats” street art mural, walk a bit further down Lebuh Armenian (also known as Armenian Street) and on your right, look out for Edelweiss Cafe (the shophouse with the Switzerland flag or exact address: 38 Lebuh Armenian), step in, walk through the cafe to the back of the cafe and you will find this “No Animal Discrimination Please” painting mural which shows three cats walking over a colour pattern of a dog (those used in color blindness test) and promotes equal treatment for pets (cats or dogs).
This is one of many cat-themed street art murals created as part of the 101 Lost Kittens Project. The 101 Lost Kittens Project is led by Artists for Stray Animals (ASA) comprising Natthaton Muangkliang from Thailand together with Malaysians Ang Yeok Khang from Bukit Mertajam and Louise Low from Kuala Lumpur in hope to create more awareness towards stray animals.
Do note that some maps show that this “No Animal Discrimination Please” mural is at Cheah Kongsi – it is not. As of 26 Dec 2015, Edelweiss Cafe is also marked in the wrong location on Google Maps.
Do also note the opening hours of Edelweiss Cafe:
Tuesday – Friday: 12noon-3pm & 6pm-10pm
Closed on Monday
4. Three Chinese Dolls or Cultural Girls at Lebuh Armenian
Walk a bit further down along Lebuh Armenian and look out for the shophouse with the purple wall facing you directly (you can’t miss this) – Here you will find 4 street art – 2 paintings and 1 steel sculpture and 1 artpiece. One of the street art depicts three different girls in traditional costumes (this is quite a small painting).
The steel sculpture is one of Penang’s Marking George Town Steel Rod Sculptures. This is a collection of caricatures relating the history and special characteristics of Georgetown streets.
5. Marge Simpson Bollard (used to be Minions) at Soo Hong Lane (Penang Street Art by Ernest Zacharevic – not confirmed)
This is usually missed by many street art hunters – this is a bollard along the street (Soo Hong Lane) that is parallel to the purple wall, away from the busy Lebuh Armenian i.e. as you are walking along Lebuh Armenian from “Little children on a bicycle” towards purple wall, turn right before you walk past the shophouse with the purple wall and walk straight until you see a bollard (the one in the picture below).
A few bloggers had claimed that Ernest Zacharevic painted a Despicable Me Minions on this bollard in 2013 similar to the Ernest Zacharevic Minions bollard we saw at Singapore Joo Chiat (except the Minions are stacked one on top of the other in the Penang version). Now, the Minions are no longer there – instead you find Marge Simpson with her iconic tall hairstyle on the bollard – not sure if this was done by Ernest Zacharevic but it was clever 🙂
6. Lion Dance Breaking Out of Wall at Lebuh Armenian
Walk back down Soo Hong Lane to the shophouse with the purple wall – you will find a “Lion Dance Breaking Out of Wall” street art mural at the front of the shop – there is even a chair you can sit down to pose with the street art painting.
7. Magician at Lebuh Armenian
Walk straight down Lebuh Armenian and a few shops from the “Lion Dance” Penang street art mural, you will find the wall mural “Magician” which shows a magician at a magic show with a frightened little girl. This is painted on the folding shutters of a bicycle rental shop so when the shop is opened, you wont be able to see the street art mural very well. Only when the shop is closed and shutters shut, you will be able to see the full street art mural in action. This shop is along the same row as the “Lion Dance” shop – in general, the Penang street art murals are along the right side of Lebuh Armenian as you walk down the street from “Children on a Bicycle” mural.
8. This Old Man at Lebuh Armenian
Walk straight down Lebuh Armenian towards the intersection of Lebuh Cannon and Lebuh Armenian and before you cross the intersection, you should be able to find a very faded Penang street art painting of “This Old Man” by Ernest Zacharevic on a wall (also on the right side of Lebuh Armenian). This is one of two larger than life Penang street art murals that Zacharevic worked on – the other being “Little Girl in Blue” or “Kungfu Girl” Penang Street Art. The elderly man appears to be preparing a drink for himself and is said to depict Ernest’s neighbour, Mr Ng Chai Thiam, the famous wooden clog painter in Penang. You might find it hard to spot this giant street art painting of “This Old Man” because it is fading off quite badly.
9. Little Boy Reaching Up at Lebuh Cannon (Penang Street Art by Ernest Zacharevic)
After “This Old Man” Penang street art painting, turn left to Lebuh Cannon and walk towards the end of the Lebuh Cannon street and on your right (after the row of beautiful shophouses), you will be able to see the Penang street art mural “Little Boy Reaching Up”. The mural is located across the street from the Anak-Anak Kota clubhouse and Khoo Kongsi entrance. “Reaching Up” was painted by Ernest Zacharevic during the 2012 Georgetown Festival. The “Reaching Up” mural shows a little boy reaching for a hole in the wall – he appears to be standing on a chair and inching himself as high as he could reach.
Congratulations, you have covered some of the more famous/popular Penang street art murals along Lebuh Armenian (those that you keep seeing people sharing on their Instagram/Facebook when they are in Penang).
To continue on your hunt for more Penang street art murals on Gat Lebuh Armenian (the Lebuh Armenian on the other side of Lebuh Pantai or Beach Street), you will need to walk back the route you took from the “Little Children on a Bicycle” street art mural i.e. along Lebuh Cannon to Lebuh Armenian.
10. Cats & Humans Happily Living Together or Cats in a Procession around Cheah Kongsi grounds along Lebuh Pantai (Beach Street)
Right at the starting point of “Little Children on Bicycle” street art mural and facing Lebuh Pantai or Beach Road (the busy main road perpendicular to Lebuh Armenian), you turn left and walk a short distance along Lebuh Pantai. On your left, you will see a Chinese temple like structure (that’s part of the Cheah Kongsi grounds) – walk through an open gate (i.e. if it is open; if the gate is closed, you can peer through the gate to see the painting) and look to your right, you should be able to see this street art mural of a lot of cats in a procession or “Cats & Humans Happily Living Together“. This is an interesting street art painting as instead of people carrying Taoist gods/deities in a procession – the cats are now carrying people in a procession.
We have covered all the street art at Lebuh Armenian with the above walking guide – we will now explore the street art at the opposite street across Beach Street – Gat Lebuh Armenian – there are 7 interesting street art paintings as shown in this Gat Lebuh Armenian street art map – most of them are cat-themed.
11. Skippy Giant Cat at Gat Lebuh Armenian
To start this street art walking tour at Gat Lebuh Armenian, now walk back to the Lebuh Armenian starting point (near the “little children on bicycle” mural), cross the road (Lebuh Pantai or Beach Road) to the opposite side (the road is known as Gat Lebuh Armenian), walk straight until you see “Skippy” – a big cat mural – by big, I mean really BIG! It is on your left as you walk down Gat Lebuh Armenian (some people call this street Armenian Street Ghaut). Look out as you walk towards the wall to pose with the cat as there is a huge drain there!
The gigantic cat street art mural is inspired by a cat with a deformed leg named Skippy, who now resides in Bon Ton Resort, Langkawi. She used to be a stray until she was rescued by the co-founder of Langkawi Animal Shelter and Sanctuary (LASSie).
12. Giant Rat Lurking Around the Corner at Gat Lebuh Armenian
Lurking around the corner of the adjoining wall with the gigantic Skippy cat Penang street art mural is the Giant Rat street art mural, looking as if it is hiding from Skippy the cat or getting ready to pounce on cat!
Bonus photography tip for you – Stand at the wall corner between the Skippy Giant Cat and the Giant Rat and take a few steps back and you will be able to get a good shot of both the cat and the rat as if they are waiting for each other. Usually there would be some annoying car parked at this strategic photography spot so you just have to get creative e.g. use selfie sticks or just stretch out.
13. “Please Care and Bathe Me” Cat at a Lane off Gat Lebuh Armenian
This Penang Street Art mural of “Please Care and Bathe Me” Cats is part of the 101 Lost Kittens Project – you can miss this street art quite easily as it is hidden in a corner near some drainage pipes. To spot this art mural, walk into the lane (off Gat Lebuh Armenian) where you find the Giant Rat art mural on your left, then walk further into the lane, look to your right (at the wall near the floor), you should be able to find this cute little Penang street art painting.
14. Blue Kitten at Gat Lebuh Armenian
This is another small kitten street art mural – it is just opposite the Skippy Giant Cat and Giant Rat street art paintings – you will find it behind a makeshift newspaper/magazine stall. As you walk along Gat Lebuh Armenian, it is on your right.
15. Love Me Like Your Fortune Cat at Gat Lebuh Armenian
Further down Gat Labuh Armenian and on your right, you will see this Penang street art mural of a cat being surrounded by Fortune Cats and peering up at a mouse hanging precariously by its tail over the cat.
16. I Want Pau at Gat Lebuh Armenian (Ming Xiang Tai Pastry Shop)
Walk further down until you reach the intersection of Lebuh Victoria and Gat Lebuh Armenian and you will reach Ming Xiang Tai Pastry shop at this intersection. This “I Want Pau” street art mural shows two children stretching their hands from inside a window towards a parked bicycle carrying a stack of dim-sum rattan trays, possibly laden with steamed buns (pau). This “I Want Pau” Penang street art mural was painted by WK Setor who named this mural 哥妹俩的童年回忆 or Childhood in English. He was invited to do the mural by his friend who run the Ming Xiang Tai pastry shop and apparently the mural features the two children of the pastry shop boss!
17. Cat Kicking Minion at Lebuh Victoria
From Ming Xiang Tai pastry shop art mural “I want pau” and facing the Gat Lebuh Armenian (with all those cat street art murals), you turn left to go to Lebuh Victoria, walk for about 5 minutes and look out for the following “Cat Kicking Minion” street art painting by the side of a bicycle rental shop. This is a play on “Bruce Lee Kicking Cat” street art mural at Lebuh Ah Quee – here the cat gets his revenge by doing a kungfu kick on a minion (who appears to be wearing Mickey Mouse ears and dropped his cheese after the kick). The cat appears to be a lot more buffer (a lot of muscle training after being Kungfu kicked by Bruce Lee :-)).
This concludes Part I of my Penang Street Art guide around Lebuh Armenian and Lebuh Cannon. Next in Part II of my Penang Street Art Mural guide, I will share interesting street art murals around Lebuh Ah Quee and near the clan jetties and some more off the beaten track Penang art murals.
You can download this Part I Penang Street Art guide in pdf document format below. Just Facebook “like” or tweet to download your guide to Penang Street Art around Lebuh Armenian: