Arts in Penang
There is so much to explore and discover about the local arts community in Penang. Be sure to catch these shows and programmes happening alongside the Festival and show your support for our thriving local arts scene!
All information provided by the artist(s) or organiser(s).
Culture Colours: Of Rhythm and Rouge Chinese Opera Exhibition
Dates: 20 May – 31 August 2023
Time: 10.00am – 7.00pm (Last entry at 6.15pm)
Venue: Ming Art Gallery Level 2, St Jo’s Building, Gurney Paragon Mall
Culture Colours: Of Rhythm and Rouge Chinese Opera Exhibition pays tribute to the remarkable legacy of Mr Leong Soo and Kar Li Cantonese Troupe’s contribution to the cultural landscape of Penang. Their contributions to the Lion and Dragon Dance scene are also highlighted through the archives.
The trove of pieces from the troupe’s store reveals an intricate tapestry of culture and traditions that define the Cantonese variation of Chinese Opera. From the design of the costumes to the mesmerising makeup, every aspect is steeped in significance and symbolism.
Visitors will have the opportunity to get up close with the vintage items and have a sneak peek into life in the 1980s. The dazzling costumes and enthralling stories unravels why Chinese Opera is an enduring masterpiece in the performing arts.
Entrance Fee: RM50, via tickets from The Straits and Oriental Museum
Pencil Exercises 一只铅笔还是一支铅笔?
Dates: 24 June – 30 July 2023
Time: 3.00pm – 5.00pm
Venue: China House Main Gallery
(153 & 155 Beach Street, 183B Victoria Street, 10300 George Town)
The Back Room, ChinaHouse, and cloud projects are proud to be jointly presenting the Penang launch of PENCIL EXERCISES, a solo exhibition by celebrated Malaysian artist Liew Kwai Fei.
Over a two-month period in 2021, artist Liew Kwai Fei conducted a series of Drawing Exercises, using pencils (both graphite and coloured) to draw variations on the theme of pencils on graph paper. Through the two deceptively simple elements of a pencil and a grid, Liew explores the limits of gridded form, composing scenes of rebellion, community, and pleasure that are irreverent and profound in equal measure. The drawings have been collated in a new book titled Pencil Exercises 一只铅笔还是一支铅笔 by local publisher, cloud projects.
Readings@Tanjong: Showcase Special
Date: 2 July 2023
Time: 10.00am – 12.30pm, 2.30pm – 5.00pm
Venue: COEX@Kilang Besi
Readings@Tanjong: Showcase Special marks the end of a gruelling four months of workshops and retreat. This showcase serves as a platform to present their works, written to the theme of ‘Inheritance‘. There will be two sessions of readings, each ending with a conversation with the writers.
Session 1 at 10:00am – 12:30pm, features written works by participants of the workshop;
Session 2 at 2:30pm – 5:00pm features readings with some of Malaysia’s finest writers.
Follow their Facebook page for more information: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100092633596972
Readings@Tanjong is a platform where readers and writers gather and surround themselves with stories, poetry, and the rhythms and melodies of words and languages. Held once every two months, Readings@Tanjong features the literary arts in Penang. It is a long-term community engagement project designed to provide a platform for Penang-based poets and writers to share their works with a wider audience, thereby increasing the readership of local literary works.
It may contain traces of art by Dhavinder Singh
Dates: 12 – 26 July 2023
Time: Mon – Thurs: 9.00am – 6.00pm
Fri – Sun: 9.00am – 9.00pm
Venue: Mano Plus
It may contain traces of art is an extension of Dhavinder Singh’s recent showcase, Please Do Not Sit – A Show About Chairs, which was a culmination of his six-month long residency at Rimbun Dahan in 2022.
Dhavinder Singh is a Kuala Lumpur-based multidisciplinary artist whose art practice, deals with the repurposing and reconfiguring of materials, through paintings, animation, assemblage and site-specific installations.
Trained at the Malaysian Institute of Art (MIA) and later, the Cardiff School of Art & Design in Fine Art, Dhavinder finds himself testing the parameters of his practice and the mediums he engages with. His body of work serve as an intuitive expression and communicates the concepts through using visual metaphors of his response based on a particular space and subject matter.
Dhavinder is currently the artist in residence at Hin Bus Depot till September. The residency will result in an exhibition where he’ll be showcasing works created as a response to Penang.
Dates: 15 July – 7 August 2023
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm Daily (Closed on PH and Fridays)
Venue: Dewan Sri Pinang, Level 3, Penang State Art Gallery
Digital Osmosis is a solo art exhibition by the artist Alvin Koay that boasts the convergence of digital animation and physical painting.
The exhibition invites visitors to dive into an immersive experience where each artwork tells a tale. The works illustrate the tangible manifestation of Alvin’s memories, hopes, expectations, and worries. Every piece carries a personal narrative of Alvin’s life story, embodied in abstract expressionism.
Complementing these are animated versions of selected works, deepening the exploration of Alvin’s psyche. These renderings bring new dimensions to the original pieces, inviting visitors to interact with the art in a dynamic and intimate manner.
Video projections will also be on display showcasing a glimpse into the artist’s creative process. Experience Alvin Koay’s world where life itself is a canvas, and art serves as the ultimate form of self-expression.
Penang Hidden Gems
Date: 15 July 2023
Venue: Rifle Range Food Court
Another one-of-a-kind experience that is truly worth sharing: Nanyang Coffee Experience by tourist guide, Tger Tatt.
A full-fledged experience. Drinking different types of Kopi at a local kopitiam in Rifle Range food court while listening to Tger’s story of the origins of Nanyang coffee and its variants.
Learn how to make your own Nanyang coffee using traditional methods to bring home and enjoy!
Registration Link: https://bit.ly/nanyangcoffeeexperience
For more information: https://www.facebook.com/PenangHiddenGems
From Bulan to Prachan
Dates: 15 – 30 July 2023
Time: 11.00am – 7.00pm
Venue: Jetty 35, Hall 1
(35, Pengkalan Weld 10300 George Town)
From Bulan to Prachan is an art exhibition and exchange program curated by Monthatip Suksopha from Thailand and Queen Lee from Malaysia. This pilot show aims to foster an exchange of ideas, and cultural experiences between female artists from Penang, Malaysia, and Chiang Mai, Thailand. By bringing together diverse perspectives and artistic expressions, the exhibition celebrates the power of art to transcend borders and create connections.
Through a series of dialogues, workshops, and collaborative projects, the artists will engage with each other’s cultures, artistic practices, and local communities. The exhibition will feature a diverse range of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, installations, and multimedia pieces, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant artistic expressions from both Penang and Chiang Mai.
From Bulan to Prachan aims to be a platform for cross-cultural dialogue, encouraging audiences to appreciate the alternative perspectives and artistic traditions of both regions. The exhibition promises to be a captivating and thought-provoking experience that showcases the diversity and strength of female artistic voices from Penang and Chiang Mai.
Sound on Screen
Dates: 17 – 23 July 2023
(226, Beach Street 10300 George Town)
The Music Film Festival – Sound on Screen – showcases a week of the finest films about the world of music, featuring some of the greatest performers from different musical genres.
Four full-length documentaries cover the life of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen; the story and work of the legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson; a cinematic odyssey exploring David Bowie’s creative journey; and the life and times of the unique jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald.
Three outstanding feature films: a joyous, emotional, heartbreaking celebration of the life and music of Whitney Houston, one of the greatest female R&B pop vocalists of all time; the life of American music icon Elvis Presley, from his childhood to becoming a rock and movie star; and the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church choir to her international superstardom.
Dates & Times: 21 & 22 July 2023 | 8.30pm; 22 & 23 July 2023 | 3.00pm
Venue: KOMTAR Level 5, Auditorium A
Malam Takdir is a new opera by Johan Othman that is inspired by the Mahabharata. It was first presented as a play in Penang in 2019, directed by Chee Sek Thim, and featured Hilyati Ramli and Noor Rizuwan Zolkepli as actors.
The story revolves around an imagined conversation between a king who was born blind, and his advisor, on the eve of a predestined war that would see all his 100 sons killed in battle. In this conversation, the advisor tries to convince the king to stop the war. Fully aware of the tragic fate that awaits his sons, the blind king nonetheless allows the war to proceed, choosing instead to take a gamble with destiny, with the hope that his 100 sons will triumph and inherit the throne. What unfolds is an argument that brings to the fore, a story of hope and betrayal, fate and human volition.
The music for the opera, also by Johan Othman, is composed with the participation of the performers and employs rhythmic clapping and sound making around arias written for a soprano voice, which will be sung by Tan Jin Yin. The opera will be presented “a capella”.
Malam Takdir gives contemporary expression to a story inspired by a piece of classical text that is common to the South-East Asian region. By using a combination of music, movement and the national language, the opera refreshes tradition and carves out new relevance for our inherited cultural heritage.
Ticket: RM50, RM140 (buy in package of 4 before 7 July 2023)
Penang Ticket link: https://forms.gle/CBKcQh2tJZS3Z2Yt7
Broadway Academy Festival Choir of KL
Date: 22 July 2023
Venue: St. George’s Church Penang
The Broadway Academy Festival Choir of KL brings Sing on Through Tomorrow, a choral concert featuring pieces composed by John Rutter, Mark Hayes and more. The repertoire is a mixture of sacred and secular choral pieces with solos pieces, including Puccini’s Nessun Dorma, the most famous aria of all time.
Listen to choral music accompanied by an organ, with the choir directed by Dr Casey Broadway, who specialises in Musical Theater and the physiology of voice.
For more information, contact Jason William at +60 16 415 9544.
Dates: 29 & 30 July 2023
Venue: COEX, Hin Bus Depot
Taiwan LAUNCHER is an international cross-cultural exchange, featuring the intangible cultural heritage – folk music, from Hengchun (Taiwan) & Penang (Malaysia). Showcasing music bands from both regions that are known for blending pop sensibilities into folk music, the event is the choice for those who favor a unique fusion taste.
Be sure to catch this music feast and ease your ears with some Minnan folk tunes from Hengchun & the classic Nanyang oldies from Penang, with a fresh twist. The event will be held on July 29th and 30th at Hin Bus Depot and COEX. For more details, visit https://www.facebook.com/folkerisland.
Date: 29 July 2023
Time: 5:30pm – 10:30pm
Venue: Hin Bus Depot
Cultural Exchange Sharing
Dates: 29 & 30 July 2023
*More info please refer to https://fb.me/e/xXnRipwO
Cultural Exchange Workshop
Dates: 29 & 30 July 2023
*More info please refer to https://fb.me/e/1g6RTdCw7
Dates: 29 & 30 July 2023
Venue: Hin Bus Depot, COEX
Presented by: Launcher Lab
Co-organiser: COEX, Hin Market, Hin Bus Depot
Advisor: Ministry Culture of Taiwan
Sponsored by: Hong Foundation
Me Time Pop-Up - Shop Sustainably
Dates & Times:
29 July 2023 | 12.00pm – 9.00pm
30 July 2023 | 12.00pm – 6.00pm
Venue: Mano Plus George Town
Welcome to the “Me Time Pop-Up – Shop Sustainably ” at Mano Plus Georgetown! This unique shopping experience is designed to offer you a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life while promoting sustainable living. We are proud to showcase 14 local brands including co-organizer THE WES STUDIO, fashion brands MUNI,LISATELIER,TERRAE,ANAABU,OH SEBENAR,BUNGKUS,JUST BETTER COMPANY,GUNG JEWELLERY & ALLITHING . Home essential brand CLEEN,REMEDY & LILIN+CO and natural tea tasting with UNCANG TEA. They prioritize eco-friendly practices, ensuring that you can indulge in guilt-free retail therapy.
From ground floor to first floor, our carefully curated selection of products ranges from fashion and accessories to home decor and beauty essentials, all sourced from passionate local artisans who share our commitment to sustainability. By supporting these brands, you not only enhance your personal style but also contribute to the preservation of our environment.
More info on IG: https://www.instagram.com/manoplus/
But the Me Time Pop-Up is more than just a shopping destination. It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in creativity and learn the art of upcycling. Join our interactive workshops led by talented artisans who will guide you in transforming ordinary objects into unique, repurposed treasures. Discover the joy of breathing new life into old items while reducing waste and making a positive impact on our planet.
Upcycle Fabric Workshop
Introducing the Second-Life Bag Project by The WES Studio:
Join us in our Second-Life sustainability practice where we upcycle leftover fabrics into functional bag pouches. Choose your favorite fabric patch and have it transformed into a limited edition bag pouch that reflects your style on the spot. Don’t miss this chance to own a unique piece of wearable art and contribute to a greener future.
Fee: Show your support by giving a voluntary commission based on its value to you.
Upcycle Plastic Workshop
Introducing the Second-Life Folding Origami Cardholders Project by .bungkus:
Now that we’ve got your attention, we will be also be sharing our journey and lifelong dream to turn various waste into functional goods, keeping our landfills greener.
So start collecting and cleaning your soft plastic waste, foam and packaging materials from home, bring them over and together we will fuse them into sheets to make your .bungkus cardholder.
Lets connect and create, for a better planet.
Inspirations from the Southeast — Penang, Malaysia
Date: 22 & 23 July 2023
Time: 2.00pm & 5.00pm
Venue: GSC Cinema, Gurney Plaza
Inspirations from the Southeast is a captivating documentary series featuring places in Southeast Asia, the region in the south of Taiwan. By blending the old with the new, the documentary captures the wisdom of Southeast Asia countries and their histories, providing insight into the significance of preserving one’s own culture. The current screening focuses on Penang, Malaysia, with an exposition on the city makers of George Town. As a UNESCO World Heritage city, the residents of George Town aim to make their city a living heritage. Whether it’s the stained walls of the street houses, the smells of various spices in the market, or the sound of the Songkok maker paddling the sewing machine, these essential historical and cultural elements of Penang are making the old city new. By portraying the stories of the living heritage, the documentary offers perspectives on everyday life and how city makers continuously shape and transform our experiences of tangible and intangible heritage within the city.