GEORGE TOWN: An artist who painted a mural of a merry old couple on the wooden exterior wall of a house in Chew Jetty here has whitewashed it, ironically because of its popularity.
Simon Tan, 48, said he decided to do so after receiving complaints from residents that the boardwalk at the alley might give way due to the many tourists who come to take photographs of the mural.
The mural gained prominence after it was highlighted in the media shortly upon its completion in early April.
He said many Facebook users also shared photographs of the mural, of an old man and a woman grinning widely, which increased its popularity.
“Residents told me that some of the tourists were jumping on the boardwalk,” said Tan yesterday after a tourist complained that the mural had been painted over.
Tan said he had painted white over the mural several days after it was highlighted in the media. Only the faintest silhouette of the mural now peeks through.
Tourist Loke See Mun, 22, who was eager to see the mural, was taken aback to find it whitewashed when she went to the location yesterday with friends.
“It’s terrible. I’ve collected photos of all the murals in Penang and I came here hoping to get a shot of this one. Why did they do this?” asked Loke who is on holiday from Perak.
A resident, who declined to be identified, said the mural became so famous that everyone who came, crowded around the alley to take photos.
“But the planks on that side of the jetty are old and thin. They were creaking and groaning under the weight of all the tourists,” she said.
Tourists who want to look at Tan’s artwork can still do so as he has also painted another mural on the wooden wall of a house at the starting point of Chew Jetty.
This mural depicts an old woman and a man, who is wearing a Superman logo on his chest.
A check on another Chew Jetty mural – of two kids and a cat on a boat – showed that it had peeled off and only a faint trace remained.
It was painted by artist Ernest Zacharevic for the George Town Festival last year.
“The mural faces the sea. It cannot withstand the salt,” said a fisherman.