Penang govt panel set up to manage George Town's murals

Penang govt panel set up to manage George Town's murals
Eye of the beholder: A mural along Victoria Street that was painted without a permit from the Municipal Council.

GEORGE TOWN - A panel of experts has been formed to manage and oversee public works of art, including murals, within the George Town World Heritage Site.

One of its tasks would be to decide which murals were relevant to the inner city and which should be removed, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

"The Penang Government has always been supportive of artists and their works, but there is a need to prevent the city from being covered with graffiti that would badly affect the cityscape," he said.

The Public Arts Review Panel, formed last month, comprises members with background in arts who will be tasked with, among others, evaluating all murals and related art within the World Heritage Site.

Lim said some of the murals in the heritage site were painted without approval and did not revolve around the city's three outstanding universal values (OUVs) - multi-cultural history, heritage, and architecture - that led to the Unesco recognition.

"The panel will be empowered to recommend the removal of any paintings not in line with George Town's tangible and intangible heritage OUVs," he said at his office in Komtar yesterday.

Led by George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI) general manager Lim Chooi Ping, the panel also consists of A2 Gallery curator Alfred Yeoh, Universiti Sains Malaysia senior lecturer Assoc Prof Fauzan Omar, Penang State Museum and Art Gallery curator Haryany Mohamad, Han Chiang College international office head of department Lim Chun Woei, One Academy Penang illustration lecturer Leong Hoy Yoke and Penang Global Tourism general manager Ooi Chok Yan.

Chooi Ping said the panel had so far identified 46 murals and art in the heritage site that were created without permit from the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP), and found that about half of them had to go.

"The remainder revolves around the city's OUVs. However, we will be asking the artist or the premises owner to apply for a permit from the council," she said.

Those who are interested in creating murals or any public art in the heritage site are required to inform and discuss further with the GTWHI.

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