Comic book artist shares the multicultural stories of Penang in ‘Sama-Sama: George Town’ exhibition

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Lefty Julian showing his ‘Sama Sama George Town, A Multicultural Art Journey Exhibition’ in conjunction with the George Town Festival in Penang November 26, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Lefty Julian showing his ‘Sama Sama George Town, A Multicultural Art Journey Exhibition’ in conjunction with the George Town Festival in Penang November 26, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 26 — What makes George Town so special?

It is the busy traditional wet market where all races converge to get their groceries.

It is the hawker stall by the sea serving up kopi ikat tepi in a koleh (metal mug) to fishing enthusiasts at Green Hall.

It is the ‘roti man’ making his rounds along the narrow streets to the clanging of the bell on his three-wheeled cart.

Lefty Julian showing his ‘Sama Sama George Town, A Multicultural Art Journey Exhibition’ in conjunction with the George Town Festival in Penang November 26, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Lefty Julian showing his ‘Sama Sama George Town, A Multicultural Art Journey Exhibition’ in conjunction with the George Town Festival in Penang November 26, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

It is the long queue, made up of people from all walks of life, outside one of the oldest nasi kandar restaurants in Penang, Hameediyah Restaurant.

It is the quintessential orange ferry that transported Penangites across the Penang channel for over a century before it was retired this year.

These, and many more scenes that made George Town unique, were perfectly illustrated in Penang-born comic artist Lefty Julian’s exhibition titled “Sama-sama: George Town.”

Lefty Julian showing his ‘Sama Sama George Town, A Multicultural Art Journey Exhibition’ in conjunction with the George Town Festival in Penang November 26, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Lefty Julian showing his ‘Sama Sama George Town, A Multicultural Art Journey Exhibition’ in conjunction with the George Town Festival in Penang November 26, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

Julian, who lived in the suburbs of Penang island, chose to live in George Town for two months last year in order to capture the culture and life in inner city George Town.

“I want to understand the whole place and I want to showcase the multicultural activities in the city and how people naturally co-exist and interact in these places,” he said.

He said it is a form of documentary storytelling, and instead of merely presenting artworks for visitors to admire, he wanted to elicit responses and a sense of nostalgia.

“I don’t want to just present my artwork for them to look at. My intention is to evoke their memories of George Town and let this exhibition become a sharing of these collective memories,” he said.

All of Julian’s works are in comic illustrations of black and white, with only yellow for a splash of colour.

The exhibition, held at Mini Cube @ Mano Plus along Beach Street, is open from 11am to 8pm and will end on November 28.

Lefty Julian showing his ‘Sama Sama George Town, A Multicultural Art Journey Exhibition’ in conjunction with the George Town Festival in Penang November 26, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Lefty Julian showing his ‘Sama Sama George Town, A Multicultural Art Journey Exhibition’ in conjunction with the George Town Festival in Penang November 26, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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