Arts to Your Doorstep
Click to keep the local arts community inspired and thriving!
“Arts to Your Doorstep” is an online marketplace to buy and sell unique art pieces and rare, handmade items created by local artists and artisans. Started in 2021 by George Town Festival to support homegrown artists by promoting and selling their artworks online.
Artists and artisans seeking the opportunity to be discovered by art enthusiasts and wanting to find a virtual home on “Arts to Your Doorstep” can reach out to the Festival via email at [email protected].
Book Island — let the books surround themselves, till they become an island. Book Island can be understood as either “book is land” or “book’s land”, which is implied as a land of reading and pondering, leading us to a bright future. Book Island is a Penang-based bookstore and publisher dedicated to publishing interesting Chinese and English books and magazines to let people excavate the treasure trove of books.
Frankie Lim was diagnosed with autism when he was seven. From a young age, the family was told that his prognosis was grim. Frankie could draw before he could speak — art has always been his medium and vessel of communication. As a Penang-based contemporary artist, Frankie has channelled his gift for pattern-seeking into his artworks, communicating his world through the lens of someone on the spectrum.
Frankie’s art has evolved over the years, becoming increasingly complex and emotionally engaging as he develops into adulthood. Through his art, Frankie demonstrates the unique challenges and perspectives of an individual on the spectrum, the way he perceives current events and the world. His evolution from black and white line drawings into the incorporation of colour allowed him to introduce another element into his art: liveliness.
Frankie’s purposeful use of details and lines in his art challenges the boundaries and pre-existing stigmas of those on the spectrum, particularly in a Southeast Asian context. Utilising his gift for patterns and intricate details, Frankie tells stories that explore the world from the lens of an individual on the spectrum.
Frankie aims to celebrate and inspire those who are like him, who can relate to him through his art. He hopes that more would dare to be different and be brave enough to challenge boundaries.
Either / Or Design
Su Ling, a true-blue Penangite, is the founder of Either / Or Design. Born and raised in George Town, her roots run deep in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Her love for her hometown has led her to create “Heritage” — a polymer clay jewellery collection inspired by the traditional Peranakan tiles commonly found in George Town. Each piece in her signature collection is thoughtfully and painstakingly handmade from scratch. Through exploration of contemporary techniques and materials, she recreates what was once familiar with a modern twist. From the mixing of each colour to the shaping and moulding of each shape, every process is carried out manually by hand. The outcomes are extremely lightweight, shock-proof, and waterproof unique designs that you can find nowhere else.
ZNG art began with the idea of promoting practical art. It uses henna drawing techniques to deliver its creative ideas and designs. It strives to keep its products simple but with fancy designs.
ZNG art was established in 2018 by Zahidah Noor Ghazalli, a Penang-born henna artist. At the age of 19, Zahidah discovered her talent for drawing henna, which is known widely in Indian culture. In 2017, after joining the Hin Market at Hin Bus Depot, she decided to pursue her career in art. However, she realised that henna does not last long and the canvas can only be skin. After doing her own research, Zahidah discovered that she could draw using acrylic paint for the design to stay on the medium forever. Using the same technique as drawing henna, she can now draw on leather, wood, fabrics, glass, canvases, and more.
Zahidah has created numerous designs using henna drawing techniques. Her one-of-a-kind artworks can be seen on fashion and accessories, stationery, and more. Every single piece is original and hand-painted by Zahidah herself.
Lee Tche Fuh, or simply known as Zack, is the founder of SAWANG. He is always passionate about looking for inspiration whenever he travels to Southeast Asia. He believes that crossover elements are able to infuse a new life in his creations which can be easily accepted by the younger generations. SAWANG focuses on traditional heritage elements and subsequently deploys that essence in modern, youthful, aesthetic, and wearable garments to fit into everyday life. It hopes to create a platform for the younger generations to embrace heritage and culture.
Kenny Loh Couture
Kenny Loh Couture was established by Kenny Loh, an artisan of Nyonya kebaya and beaded shoes. After 10 years as a nutritionist, he decided to pursue his passion and set up an establishment to safeguard his family legacy — the Baba Nyonya culture. Kenny, who is from Penang’s Baba Nyonya family, learnt the skill of making Nyonya kebaya with embroidery and beaded shoe faces from his elderly. He is one of the few artisans doing Nyonya kebaya tailoring and embroidery in the region. He is also known for his creations of Nyonya beaded shoes. Kenny has attended various local and international events, including fashion shows and beauty pageants. Kenny was recognised as the “Successful People in Malaysia” by Britishpedia in 2020 with his contribution to the art, craft, fashion, and culture of Baba Nyonya.
Zax Lee, a Penang-based artist, founded Jutozi in 2020, in line with his advocacy of protecting and conserving the environment. He conceived paper rattan bags which are made of reusable and recyclable craft paper because he has always wanted to make fashion accessories that are environmentally-friendly. Combining traditional elements with modern technology while upholding the core idea of protecting the environment, Jutozi strives to take a departure from the norm, delivering products that are innovative in a novel way.
Muccapaper – Craftisan by the bay. They are a homegrown brand in Penang. The word Mucca stems from kinship, denoting a close relationship as intimate as family. For them, writing is more than just a medium of communication – it is a part of who they are, inseparable from our lives. They were born into a family of stationery producers, and the rest is history. Stepping away from the one-size-fits-all approach, their passion lies with creating personalised products to reflect one’s identity, allowing them to feel connected within, ultimately finding satisfaction while staying organised.
Noom Art Studio
Teoh Kooi Pei is a design architect, artist, and researcher based in Penang. She learned Chinese ink painting during her studies at Tongji University, Shanghai. She then further refined her skills at Penang Buddhist Free School. Her cross-disciplinary works focus on the interaction between traditional and contemporary subjects. She even developed architectural concepts according to the essence derived from her poetry artworks. Her first solo exhibition in 2019, “When the East Meets the North 东行及北” and a group show in 2021, “PAUSE II”, demonstrated her attitude towards encouraging the interaction between the obsolete and the modern. She has been working on various themes focusing on the interaction between characters and nature to convey love and encouragement.
She established her own practice in 2019, Noom Art Studio, which focuses on ink painting and related designs, architectural designs, and digital visuals. “Noom” is her artist name in reverse. The starting of this studio came from her initial idea of inheriting the skill of ink painting. In addition to teaching ink painting, she has been trying to promote ink painting that is conservatively practised as a decorative art. By recreating practical artworks with the current technologies, she is on the path to disseminating wider art penetration in daily life.
Kazimi was a graphic designer who worked in a paper mill for over 20 years. However, fuelled by her passion for handcrafted items, she founded KAZIMI, an arts and crafts store with the same name as hers, in 2019. She has been unleashing her talent into designing exquisite wrapping papers, notebooks, photo albums, handmade fabric books, and more, which are readily available for purchase in the store located at Hin Bus Depot. From the sourcing of materials to the completion of the products, every detail is closely taken care of to ensure that the quality meets her high standards. In addition to a wide array of delicately crafted in-house products, arts and crafts lovers can also expect to grab the works of other homegrown illustrators and creators.
Tan Yu Kai
Born and raised in Penang, Tan Yu Kai had been schooled in Chinese painting since the age of 12. He obtained a Master’s degree from Wesleyan University, Connecticut, USA, majoring in Biology, Anthropology, and Earth & Environmental Sciences. He is currently a research fellow at the Smithsonian Institution.
He works with media including watercolours, gouache, egg tempera, acrylics and oils. His works revolve around the relationalities between humans and the natural world. His curatorial work with natural history collections had provoked him to re-examine the ways of knowing and interacting with nature, which exists within and beyond science. Yu Kai’s pieces are emotive moments in conversation with the alternative modes of seeking our position in nature.
Howard Tan was born in Penang in 1974. Although he had always wanted to become an artist, he never had a chance to pursue his dream, and he ended up studying computer science instead. Having tired of working in the software industry for nearly 10 years, he took a chance to switch to working in photography. He started off by selling his photography prints in local arts and crafts markets, then subsequently running his own gallery and shop.
Currently working and living in Penang, Howard enjoys spending his time wandering and photographing different parts of Malaysia, particularly Penang. He draws his inspiration from the old buildings, the people, the streets, the wandering cats, the tradespeople, and other aspects of the world around him. Sometimes these photographs appear to be in the form of a documentary, sometimes they are just abstract photos. His love for photography came from over thousands of movies that he had watched during his childhood.
Howard also has an interest in collecting old Malaysian black and white photographs and books from the flea markets. His latest works involve turning these old prints and images into collages, a new narrative of his art and his subconscious impulses. These have been very well received and are his current and favourite mode of expression.
Wak Long Music & Art Centre
Wak Long Music & Art Centre was established in 2000, with the aim of promoting Malay artistic traditions throughout Malaysia. As the only traditional Malay performing group in Penang, it is active in performing gamelan music, traditional music, and wayang kulit throughout Penang, Kedah, and Perak.
Wak Long Music & Art Centre has been conducting traditional music workshops and classes related to gamelan music, wayang kulit, wau bulan, kompang music, dikir barat, and more. It also provides the services of repairing broken kompang, gendang, bongo, conga, and other musical instruments.
Jeslyn Ooi Shiyun, the founder of Happy Dumpy, designs unique, interesting, and creative handcrafted Malaysian gifts and souvenirs that capture the human stories of Malaysian culture.
Inspired by the colourful diversity of Malaysian food culture, she designs handcrafted purses, pouches, bags, and soaps with a pinch of Malaysian flavour. From documenting local food culture and stories behind to the ingredients and cultural significance of Malaysian cuisine and translating them into a modern context, each gift is thoughtfully designed from scratch. Various food fillings of your favourite flavours can be packed into the banana leaf and bamboo leaf pouches designed too.
Quirky, memorable, adorable, and one-of-a-kind, Happy Dumpy produces quality handcrafted Malaysian gifts and souvenirs that will surely put a smile on people’s faces.
Mannik & Batik
Azman Abdul Manan spent the better part of a decade playing a major role in a leading lifestyle brand in Kuala Lumpur before coming back to Penang to establish Mannik & Batik. His experience and network in Kuala Lumpur inspired him to start his own brand six years ago.
Beautiful and vibrant batiks are carefully stitched into eye-catching tote bags and handbags, which are bound to be the envy of many. Batik-wrapped beads are also strung artistically to create special necklaces with tropical flair.
This is Mannik & Batik — the labour of love of Azman, who manages every step of production with his uniquely artistic vision.
Alex Leong, a Penang-based watercolour artist, has dedicated himself to his art for over 20 years, building a portfolio that catalogues rapturous, vivid scenes of local life. Leong’s talent was recognised in 1992 when he was awarded the prize for the Penang State Pesta Art for young talent in a major category. In 2003, he won the Han Chiang Association Watercolour Competition before he triumphed in the 1st Putrajaya National Watercolour Competition in 2006. Leong has participated in a litany of group exhibitions, with his first solo show in 2012 in Kuala Lumpur. He was also inducted into the Penang Watercolour Society and the Malaysian Watercolour Society in the same year. However, the turning point in his career came in 2015, when he enjoyed wider acclaim at The Edge Auction and a successful solo exhibition named “Heritage Buildings in Exquisite Watercolours” that followed.
Founded on 22 February 2005, Areca Books is a niche publisher based in the George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site, Penang, Malaysia. It has a publishing mission of producing social histories that dignify the culturally diverse people who make up our society. It also promotes the writing of urban histories that give centrality to the places we love.
A number of its publications are pioneering works on social history, biographies, cultural heritage, architecture, the environment, and the visual arts. Its books are well-researched and richly illustrated, appealing to general readers as well as academic researchers in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.
Areca Books is also committed to building a community of authors and contributors who care about history and places of cultural significance. It recognises the importance of social memory which draws from a diverse past to enrich our common future.
Ch’ng Kiah Kiean was born in 1974 in George Town, Penang. He graduated from Universiti Sains Malaysia with a degree in architecture. Subsequently, he ran his own graphic design studio for about 10 years. In 2019, he joined Urban Sketchers and published Sketches of Pulo Pinang, which features a collection of Penang sketches by him from 1996 to 2009. He then co-founded Urban Sketchers Penang in 2010 and published his sophomore book, Line-line Journey, in 2011. He is now a full-time artist based in Penang.
Game design by Goh Choon Ean
Illustrations by Charis Loke
Production design by Tan Wah Chew
Produced by LUMA and Arts-ED
Supported by George Town World Heritage Incorporated
For 1-8 players | Approx 10 – 80 mins playtime | Age 8+
A board game inspired by walking around Penang’s George Town, Kaki Lima is about pedestrians navigating their way through a grid of five-foot ways. Players gain victory points when their pedestrians reach places on their task lists and exploration quest cards, when they clear blocked paths, and when they meet up with other pedestrians.
Open Call for Art Residency
We are seeking visual artists aged 18 years old and above who are currently based in Malaysia for the art residency programme which will run for one month. The selected residency artists are required to complete an artwork that can be fitted into a space measuring 3 metres x 3 metres revolving around the theme “Home” this July. It will culminate in a physical group exhibition which will be held in George Town, Penang in 2021, showcasing the residency artists’ artworks. Each applicant may choose to participate in the programme as an individual or a group. Each participant/group will be awarded a RM2,000 (Two Thousand Ringgit Malaysia Only) stipend. Apply by 20 June 2021 at 11.59pm (GMT+8).