Current Issue

Street Murals as a Unique Tangible Cultural Heritage: A Case Study of Artifact Value Preservation

Stephen T. F. POON
IJCCI volume 4, issue 1, November 2016

In spite of the tangible cultural benefits, street art such as mural paintings face the threat of impermanence as a unique heritage artifact. Unpredictable climate conditions, vandalism, lack of appreciation of the social history and the arts, loss of cultural integrity through changes in societal tastes, as well as authorities’ ambivalence and lack of critical commitment towards heritage preservation, have contributed to the need to sustain and preserve street murals. In an attempt to bridge literature and knowledge in this field, this paper identifies the value of street art as a visual communication tool of the vibrant Malaysian cultural identity. This case study looks at street murals in Georgetown, the capital city of Penang state in Malaysia, as a fertile form of community art practice, and discusses the critical issues surrounding its preservation as a unique, tangible cultural heritage. The study is conducted using mixed methods, with data gathered from a survey sampling and interviews. The research argues for a continuous shaping of street mural as unique, tangible heritage through recognition, validation, promotion and preservation of street art not only within the urban site, but for the other states in multi-ethnic Malaysia.

Keywords: Cultural artifact, Preservation, Heritage, Street mural

Category: Glocal Perspective