George Town, Penang –
After a harrowing two-day train ride from Chiang Mai, stepping out on Penang island’s solid ground for the first time was a wonderful feeling. I have to admit that I arrived in Malaysia with big expectations – expectations that weren’t necessarily met in all the ways I had anticipated. One thing that took me by surprise, however, was the richness of Penang’s streetscapes. George Town in particular has a complicated beauty unlike anything I’ve experienced before, and a walk through the streets of the UNESCO core and buffer zones proffered a new visual feast at every turn. As I wrote at the time of my visit, Penang’s streets schooled me on colours and shapes – never before have I seen such delightful, ad-hoc and often unintentional combinations of flaking pastel paints and heritage tiles, Chinese frame windows flanked by colonial colonnades – and robust pattern clashing! I wish I could have captured every facade to paste into a giant scrapbook for future reference. Instead, I took a few thousand photos to document some of my favourite artworks and shopfronts. Here are a few snaps taken on the streets of George Town, Penang.