20th January 2020, Monday, 730pm




First and foremost, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to the organisers for organising the inaugural Penang International Container Art Festival. I appreciate the commitment to make this festival a highly anticipated event in Penang and beyond. I would also like to congratulate the artists who had created these eye-catching murals. Never had I imagined that shipping containers could be transformed into larger-than-life canvasses.

Since George Town made the UNESCO World Heritage list, the state has been riding a tourism boom that now attracts millions of visitors a year. Based on the statistics from Malaysian Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), the passenger movements in 2019 recorded 8,325,877 passengers which is a 6.92% growth compared to 7,786,849 passengers in 2018. Many of our visitors come to experience Penang's fantastic diversity in culture, heritage, arts, as well as its natural surroundings of sandy beaches, breathtaking hills and cityscapes. This year, Penang is going a step further to promote enriching, authentic and immersive local experience for all visiting travellers through Experience Penang 2020 (EPY 2020): The Diversity of Asia, a campaign by the Penang State Committee for Tourism, Arts, Culture and Heritage.

The tourism sector is a key driver of Penang’s economic progress. It generates income, creates job opportunities, preserves and promotes our natural and cultural heritage. Today, the tourism sector has overtaken the manufacturing sector in Penang and is now recognised as one of the leading tourist destinations in the world.

Penang's arts scene, especially, has garnered many international accolades in recent years. The Guardian listed Penang as one of the Best Street Arts in the World in 2013. Penang was also the only Asian destination to be listed in Lonely Planet's book "Street Art" in 2017. Last year, Penang made headlines again as the 7th Most Instagrammed City in the world for street art.

The Penang International Container Art Festival is set to put Penang on the map once again as a leading arts and culture hub in the region. This is the first time such a festival is being held in Asia, where shipping containers are turned into mural installations. The festival demonstrates that Penang is a place prepared to try new things, and our willingness to think outside the box has elevated Penang's thriving arts scene to new heights.

More importantly, the growth of local creative industries has contributed significantly to the Penang2030 vision. Events such as Penang International Container Art Festival have breathed new life into old townships across the island and the mainland. This will also help establish a culture and design cluster to develop creative talent, products and services. Besides that, people are excited to see old heritage towns rejuvenated into exciting places with new, creative ideas which are relevant to current times.

Themed 'Penang's Local Identities', the Penang International Container Art Festival has successfully aligned itself to Penang 2030 vision. With a total of five container art installations spread across five towns on the island and the mainland, the festival brings communities together by providing a shared space for all to enjoy. Painstakingly created by 12 local and international artists, the ten murals on these five container art installations are visual stories of our local identities meant to foster a strong sense of community pride. By turning these shipping containers into larger-than-life murals, the festival not only inspired new ideas but also proved that an inspired population is a happy one — and a creative one as well.

The Penang2030 vision also considers the state of Penang as one. The island and the mainland make up the smart state that we envisioned. The organisers and the artists worked hard to turn George Town, Jelutong, and Balik Pulau on the island as well as Butterworth and Batu Kawan on the mainland into Instagram-worthy outdoor galleries. So, do take your time to capture these towering sights as well as explore the lesser-known places and hidden gems in across the island and the mainland during the festival.

I wish that you have a great time at the Penang International Container Art Festival. May you be inspired by the talented artists and continue to provide your support to Penang's creative industries. With this, I am pleased to officially launch the Penang International Container Art Festival 2020.

Thank you.

Pejabat Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang Tingkat 28, KOMTAR, 10502, George Town, Pulau Pinang