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Street Art @ Hin Bus Art Depot
George Town, Penang, Malaysia - February 2014
The young Lithuanian artist has put up wonderful murals and more at the old un-used Hin Bus Company depot at Brick Kiln Road, George Town, Penang. This is an exhibition of his art but with some done onto the walls of the place. The exhibition ends on 14th February 2014. I gather that after a month it will reopen again with different exhibits but for how long after that is a question mark. See, the place is privately owned and it is out of the UNESCO Heritage Site Zone - when development comes a calling this place will probably disappear. So don't hesitate go as soon as possible before.....
The depot consist of several buildings, mostly derelict but clean. This is an appropriate backdrop for Ernest's art style. It was formerly used by the Hin Company Limited which used to operate the famous "blue" bus that plied the northern sector of Penang Island.
Okay, enough of the history talk; let's look at more interesting things - the art.
Right at the entrance are bright pink neon lights proclaiming
"art is rubbish is art".
This is the theme title of the exhibition.
Oops! That's my bicycle there, let's hope that Ernest will not make it a permanent part of his art. I love my bike.
This entrance leads to a roofed main building where most of the exhibits are.
- 1870x2750 Oil on timber slatted roller blinds (2014)
These roller blinds were traditionally used by old shop-houses in the city centre. Located at the front most part of the shop, they were conveniently rolled down to shade from the morning or evening sun.
- 920x1590 Thumb Tacks On Wood (2014)
- Oil on board (2013)
The term does not refer to the singer, but more to a mix of drinks that are black & white in colour. Examples are the white soy drink mixed with the black cincau. Or in the above case black coffee with white milk.
Which bring me to the point that they serve coffee at a counter. Yes, with a cup of coffee, enjoy the art and have a little chat with other art lovers. This is one of life's little pleasures.
The infamous "Lego Robber and Young Girl" that caused a stir in Johor Bahru.
"Produce Of Indonesia"
- 910x1410 charcoal on coffee bag canvas (2013)
- 1040x990 charcoal & murobond on wood (2013)
- 1200x890 charcoal & murobond on timber window shutters (2013)
"Girl In Pink"
- 910x560 oil & spray paint on old wooden planks of a house (2014)
- 840x1810 oil on old wooden plank door.
This ingeniously named piece is of a man sleeping outdoors painted on an old door
Unwanted items on an old wooden kitchen cupboard with wire screen doors sits on old colonial style floor tile against a mossy white-wash wall.
Is this art or is this rubbish? That's the point Ernest is trying to make.
A man with mechanical innards playfully resembling a magicians trick. Assembled from discarded old wooden drawers
Ernest's pants well "dirtied" with paint.
Okay, this is not art, just a polite sign. Caught you all there, yah?
- 920x610 charcoal & oil on coffee bag canvas (2013)
- 920x610 charcoal & oil on coffee bag canvas (2013)
These two girls "guard" a doorway that gives a peep to the outside exhibit area. Today it is locked with a folding metal grille. These traditional folding grilles are still commonly used in Penang.
"The Roadwork Wizard"
- 1970x775 oil & spray paint onto a double-leave old timber window shutter (2014)
- 2440x1210 oil & spray paint on plywood (2013)
- 1870x2750 oil on slatted wooden roller blinds (2014)
All the above artwork are displayed at the front entrance building. With just some minor touching up of the walls, this building with a new roof added on and original beautiful floor tiles, creates a cozy atmosphere for the art pieces.
- 960x400 oil on wooden window shutter (2013)
Back at the counter I had some coffee, chatted with Ana, an Ecuadorian lass manning the counter. Here one can purchase souvenirs - postcards, poster prints, T-shirts, etc.
On one side of the counter is a sound speaker box mad from a discarded plastic gasoline container. How ingeniously cute!
Okay. After a nice rest and chat with Ana, we are ready to step to the back. It's an outside area with several other buildings.
To the right is a small annexe that house toilets and a store room. Just behind the toilets is a dilapidated house without a roof that display more art work.
On the left is a new covered mini hall, this is probably where some functions are held. On its wall are some wall murals, but I don't think most of them are by Ernest as the style looks different than his.
Just as the this exit, on an external wall of the main building, is a painting of a little girl in a blue dress flying... er.... garbage bag balloons!
The infamous Lego robber and his victim has been brought into 3-D.
The cheeky child in me could not help but do a pose of how "dangerous" Penang is!
These two lego characters are now renown. Show them to most and they will identify them as the infamous Johore Bahru Lego robber and his Lego victim.
Well, let's be open-minded; what is Johore's sad loss is Penang's ironical gain.
The Lego robber and his Lego victim is used as door signage for the male and female toilets respectively.
On a wall is a large mural of two young boys playing with orange road cones.
On a perimeter wall abutting a back lane, is a painting of two young boys rowing a sampan. The bottom chipped of plaster being made to look like a wave fron and rippling water.
On the other side of this back lane can be seen existing colonial style houses where some Penangites still dwell in.
Now we come to my favourite one; the one that is shown in a larger photo right at the top of this blog.
It's the one of a kung-fu girl painted onto the gable wall of the roofless house. The kungfu girl in her yellow fighting uniform contrast well with the black mossy wall. Ingeniously, her back bending forms an arch over a timber door.
What I like about this place, the Hin Bus Depot, is that although it's in a quieter part of town, it is still within walking distance to many of the interesting sights and foodie place. And the Hotel Grand Continental just looms over and behind it.
On the right side of this gable wall are little holes, through one of which can be seen a little boy peeping through. Hey! It's one of those little boys rowing the sampan.
In the internal field separating the buildings is this shark fin sculpture pasted with notices/pamphlets of loan sharks. AHA! I get it, this is a loan shark!
At the centre of the mini hall is this golden shopping cart filled with garbage bags.
Yes! More rubbish!
Painting of another boy with an orange traffic cone cap.
Hmmmmm..... with the paint dirtied pants, I think this could be Ernest when he was a young boy. A rainbow arches behind him; I wonder what he is trying to express.
A mural showing the Monkey God on a warpath.
There are several of these similar murals; they don't seem in line with the rest of the exhibits, so I won't delve on them.
I left the place with a feeling of satisfaction.
Just a few steps away, I looked up at the looming KOMTAR Tower, gleaming in the evening sun.
Isn't Penang GREAT! It's a mix of art and architecture. New and old. A pot-pourri of colourful cultures and food. All thriving just next to each other!
View Location Map Hin Bus Depot Art Gallery, Penang in a larger map
The Hin Bus Art Depot is located at Jalan Brick Klin, at that section of the road that is now renamed Jalan Gurdwara. It lies between the Gama Supermarket and the Sikh temple.
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