OK, we fibbed – there are just so many things on, it was really difficult cutting down the list to only six! If you’re in Penang for the George Town Festival this August, whether as a local or a tourist, whether you have a few days or just a day and a night, here are a few things we found that are definitely worth checking out.
1. I believe you! – A Liar’s Walk
You can find out some little known facts (or not) from one of the hour long Liar’s walks around the old part of the city. The gathering point is the lovely little art cafe Chai Diam Ma, in the northern end of Queen Street, not far from the Chinese Temple on Jln Kapitan Kling. They do start on time, so please be prompt!
The interactive fun walks are led by a lively lady named Lusy and are modelled on similar walks in London. Lusy and one of the group will share with you two stories about a particular location and from the information, you need to decide which one is true and which has something in it that made you go ‘hmmm, that’s not right’. Then you vote! The next walk is on Tuesday 18th August from 7-8pm. Email Lusy from the link below to book your place.
Your RM20 contribution for the walk goes to support The Little Art House, a project under the umbrella of We are Artists. Click on their George Town Festival link to download maps for their interactive Hide & Seek maps.
2. Find an Interactive Art Piece
The Pixel Fountain is an free interactive art installation by American interactive artist Steven Gutierrez, whereby you can either play the music by stepping on footpads on the floor, or just watch and see (and hear) what happens. The day we visited there was some technical difficulty with the motorised collection of the ball bearings which make the music, but it was still a worthwhile interaction with a couple of ‘thuds’ included.
The single piece exhibition is located at 162 Lebuh Victoria (No7 on the GTF Venue Map) and is open between 10am and 6pm every day.
3. Exhibitions and talks
Not all the events were confirmed before the GTF programme was finalised, so there are lots of extras you can find as you walk about. We dropped in to the Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple in Lebuh Armenian and discovered an emotive exhibition of photographs by American photographer James Whitlow Delano documenting the 2011 Japanese Black Tsunami.
There will be an Artist’s Talk on Tuesday 18th August between 2 and 3pm.
The Indian Muslim community has been a part of the fabric of George Town for well over 150 years. The free exhibition The Crescent Moon : Sharing the same Moon is currently on at the Kapitan Keling Mosque Hall and compares the lives of the local Kapitan Keling Mosque community with that of Muslims living in New Zealand. Open every day 10am to 6pm.
4. Life stories – Nusantara
We popped in to see the work of artist Sherman Wong, and found a peep was not enough, so we sat on the blocks provided to watch the very different stories told in each of the nine video vignettes – stories of the people of the Nusantara.
This Indonesian word means “archipelago” and as the artist explains, the stories “explore the effects of origin and ancestry on our collective identity, and in so doing provide a meaningful connection between past and present.”
5. Find Artists and their work
We were admiring the beautiful portraits of Abdul Rashid Abdul Razak, simply signed ‘Rashid’ and were delighted to find that he is the resident artist and curator of the gallery and was more than happy to have a chat about his work.
6. Live performances.
If you’re around on the weekend, there are lots of performances and events available between Friday and Sunday. One you might like to catch is the North-South Peranakan Cook-Off on 29th and 30th August, where you can find out about the unique style of cooking of the Peranakan culture. Bookings are necessary and Tickets are available online.
Download a copy of the GTF programme booklet to see most of what’s on and you can pick up a paper copy at all the venues mentioned, as well as many of the hotels and guesthouses throughout the month.