Besides going to Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Temple, you now have more to explore in Ayer Itam after you have had your fill of the famous laksa there.
Six pieces of murals and a sculpture were created before CNY under the project ‘My Home, Air Itam’ introduced by Air Itam assemblyman Joseph Ng Soon Siang to help revitalise the economy.
Ng said they noticed after tourists had visited Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Temple, the most they would do is have laksa – which is considered a famous delicacy here – before heading back to town.
“We were thinking, why not make Air Itam a place for the tourists to have a vacation, so something like a two-nights one day here. To do that, we have to have something special to arrest their interest. That’s when the idea of drawing murals came in,” he explained.
Ng teamed up with curator Tan Chor Whye from Can Can Public Art PLT, and researcher and Air Itam resident Teresa Ong for the project, and aimed for it to have a similar impact to Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic’s ‘Little Children on a Bicycle’ mural in Armenian Street, George Town.
All of the murals from ‘My Home, Air Itam’ project were undertaken by local artists, such as Penang’s own Dana Ng, a 22-year-old artist who made three out of the six murals.
Dana made ‘Laksa’ which she described as a homage to the beloved dish, ‘Trendiness’ which is a painting of Goku holding a 3D sushi, and ‘Kites Got Stuck’ that she worked on with Sabahan artist Hana, which depicts children kites.
Amir Andhar, mural artist and graffiti practitioner from Malacca created ‘Generation to Generation’, which is the largest out of the six murals, measuring 20 feet by 35 feet.
The famous ‘Susu Tarik’ man of Air Itam, 52-year-old Kathiravelu Seenivasan who’s been operating his stall for 32 years there gets immortalised in a mural by artist Khow Zew Wey, popular known as Bibichun.
Sarawakian artist Leonard Siaw created ‘Curry Mee Ah Mah’, which depicts two famous Siamese sisters, Lim Kooi Lye, 87 and Lim Kooi Heang, 89 who are known for their delicious, well, curry mee.
Once you’re done taking photos of the murals, look out for a sculpture of Sunda, the slow loris, who slowly looks at visitors who leaving Air Itam.
Ng said the sculpture is meant to say goodbye to those leaving the town in hopes that they will come again. Ng said they plan to use QR codes for the murals so visitors will get information and the story behind each of them.