Fusing Modern Skills with Traditional Crafts


(Standing, middle) Urban Xchange curators Grusaite and Chuah, flanked by their PR team. (Seated left to right) Artists Annabelle Ng, Ammar Khalifa, Jaimie Oon Muxian and Low Chee Peng.

Art festival Urban Xchange 2015 brought together young artists and traditional handicraft masters to re-imagine Penang’s heritage.

The second edition of art festival Urban Xchange gave six contemporary artists, mostly Malaysian, the chance to challenge Penangites’ biggest pet peeve: mixing the state’s heritage with modernity.

At the end of 2014, the first edition of the international art festival brought the spray cans of an array of international mural artists to colour some of George Town’s heritage core walls. Unfortunately, most of the modern and unconventional designs were not considered “in line” with Penang’s atmosphere.

Such criticism spurs a main question: In today’s fast-developing Penang, what is heritage?

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