Penang Street Art
A friend of mine introduced me to works by a Malay Chinese writer Huang Jin-Shu before my visit to Penang, and I decided to take his book Memorandum of the Nanyang People’s Republic with me to the trip. The book mainly talks about the Communist Party of Malaysia and brings out its concealed history, which I have never heard of before, thus I found this book very interesting to read.
There is a gallery named Run Amok at the Hin Bus Depot Art Center, in Penang. With the help of people who work at the gallery I found a wall to paint at the art center. I am not going to reveal who gallery curator is, but a few days ago he warned me that so-called museums in Penang are not worth visiting, unless you want to be a silly tourist.
When looking at the wall, I realized that I want to paint something related with Malaysia, and suddenly remembered Huang Jin-Shu’s collection of short stories. I am not that much familiar with the history of Malaysia’s Communist Party, but I am well aware of the “erased history,” which always gives me complex feelings. Creative freedom is limited in Malaysia and talking about the Communist Party is a taboo, therefore, I decided to portray people as animals. I replaced only a few parts and I did not show so clearly that “this represents that,” it is more about a feeling. I want to cherish the memory of the passing time and enthusiasm which is not accepted by the society, just like the history of the Communist Party that disappeared in Malaysian jungles, by painting on an old wall in Penang, talking about the Communist Party and creating murals.