Exhibition records stories of Penangites from all walks of life

Julian (partly hidden, grey jacket) briefing Anwar (foreground) about his artwork. — K.T. GOH/The Star

FIND out what “home” means to Penang’s diverse communities at the “I Am Home” art exhibition held at the Penang Harmony Centre.

There are life stories from 20 selected individuals of different genders, faiths and ethnicities, told through a combination of drawings and interview snippets.

This collaboration between curator-researcher Dr Kuah Li Feng and comic artists Lefty Julian and Azmi Hussin aims to record and capture the wisdom and knowledge of different people for future generations.

“Behind every life story is a journey of struggle and growth to make Penang home,” Dr Kuah said at the show’s launch.

In the project that began in August 2020, he conducted the interviews and either Julian or Azmi would then tell the subjects’ stories through their drawing.

Julian related: “We talked to people from a vast spectrum of backgrounds.

“We looked for the more elderly ones as they would have the strongest stories to tell, with their families having been in Penang for generations.

“Visitors to this exhibition will see what home means to different people and get a better understanding of various cultures.”

Azmi said the process opened their eyes to many things they had never known before.

“Through our sketches, we record stories that are in danger of disappearing,” he added.

Penang social development and non-Islamic religious affairs committee chairman Chong Eng commended the team and welcomed their intention to expand the project in the future.

“There are 20 stories here but I hope to see more.

“There are still so many stories waiting to be discovered and told.

“The style of writing and drawing at the exhibition can be easily understood by audiences of different ages and backgrounds.

“It is important to attract the young because they are the ones who will continue to write stories about Penang,” she said in her speech.

In his keynote address, Datuk Seri Dr Anwar Fazal said the best parts of a home were the little nuances that made it unique to each person or family.

“Home is also our country, a place that gives us protection but also the ability to connect with the rest of the world.

“It is what gives us identity. It is important to celebrate these stories,” said Dr Anwar, who is also a director of Harmonico, the harmony centre’s parent company.

The “I Am Home” exhibition continues until Sunday and is open from 9am to 6pm daily. Admission is free.

It is part of the Penang Harmony Week programme which runs until March 21. For details, visit www.harmonico.my/harmonyweek

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