The outstanding Batik Painting Museum Penang

One of the many outstanding artworks on display at the Batik Painting Museum Penang.

The Batik Painting Museum Penang has a great selection of over 90 original paintings by some 30 accomplished artists.

The museum occupies a three-storey shophouse in busy Armenian Street in the historic core of George Town.

Batik painting was a relatively new art form popularised by talented Penang artist Dato’ Chuah Thean Teng (1912-2008) in the 1950s (his self-portrait in batik is featured in the museum).

Prior to that period batik was used mainly for clothing but he combined batik-making skills with fine works of art.

Many different batik painting styles can now be found and the museum contains works by various artists including these below:

‘Siesta’ is an early work by Koay Soo Kau (born 1946) in 1983 showing a weary tricycle driver taking an afternoon nap.
‘Two Trishaws’ batik painted on cloth in 2008 by Ismail Mat Hussin (1938-2015). Trishaws are becoming rarer in Malaysia (except for tourist rides) but are still used for transport in parts of Kelantan.
‘George Town Heritage City’ batik on cloth painted in 1980 by Chuah Siew Teng (born 1944).
‘Women at Work’ batik painted on cloth in 2007 by Tan Thean Song (1946-2017). This is my favourite.
‘Women with Baskets’ batik on cloth painted in 1991 by Yong Kheng Wah (born 1945). Kampung houses on stilts in the background.

Most of the artists displayed in the museum were born in the 1930s, 40s and 50s and it is hoped younger generations are continuing the art so these skills do not die out.

Naturally visitors are able to buy some nice batik art pieces in the shop at the entrance.

Review verdict: Definitely worth a visit if you are interested in art and/or batik.

Opening hours: Daily from 10 am to 6 pm.

Ticket prices: RM10 for adults ; RM5 for students

Ticket prices include this beautiful postcard.

This article first appeared in Malaysia Traveller.