Art is not what you see, but what you want others to see. We believe that every living soul is an artist in their own way; that what they do is Art to someone else. In this project, we roamed around George Town in search of everyday people who are contributing to the unique character of this city.
A community project, Why Art, was launched in May by the Youth Ambassadors with the objective of understanding how the local art scene has changed lives and inspired people. They roamed the streets of George Town, interviewing and collecting, engaging stories from people of different races and age groups. Here are their works:
“I’m a Ukranian artist, I travel from country to country and this is the second time I have been to Penang. I love Penang, I have many friends here, and I’m always happy to see them. Why do I want to perform? Cause it’s my life, I’m born to perform.”
“I’m a volunteer because I love animals. We need a new shelter badly, because we’re under pressure to relocate. We have more than 200 dogs and cats housed at a piece of land in a Malay village and they are pressuring us to move. So we have to reconstruct a new shelter. Most of them are strays, some are abused, some are abandoned and some of them had been in accidents. We take them in and give them medical treatment, then we find them homes. Otherwise, we will keep them. It’s a lot of money involved, and it’s so difficult to ask for funds, but we still have to do it.”
Translation: I’ve been painting since primary school, it has almost been 60 years since then. I’ve finished painting almost all of Penang’s beautiful sceneries. During a good weather, I love going for long walks and paint, and I really like it when the light rays from the sun shines down at a scene. Painting makes me happy. If I’ve done a good job, I’ll be on cloud nine for the whole day. I’ve never thought about giving up. I have passion for painting; I wish there a brush in my hand on my last day.
“When I was in high school, I told my teacher that I wanted to be an artist. He was surprised, and asked me to think twice. I did. My answer was still the same. He told me, ‘Being an artist is tough. You need to bear a living on just porridge and salted fish. Can you do that?’ I said yes. Then he advised me ‘Fill your stomach first, only when you have enough money then you can afford art supplies.’ I listened to him. Fortunately, I secured a job at the bank which paid well at that time. I still painted. I’ve spent so much time on art and will never regret it. I love painting old buildings. The older the buildings, the more colourful they are. At the same time, I can preserve heritage. Some people golf, some people fish, I paint. I am addicted to painting. Painting makes me extremely happy. If someone offered 10 million or threaten me with a gun to stop me from painting, I would still refuse. Without painting, I would die. Painting is my life.”