The Hin Bus Depot: Penang’s Centre of Subculture

Irene Navarro /
Irene Navarro / | © Culture Trip
Michelle Leong

The Hin Bus Depot is George Town’s trendiest place right now — and not just because of the exhibitions, the urban farming, and the Sunday pop-up market. This once-derelict bus station is Penang’s best-loved arts and culture hub. Locals are proud of it, visitors are impressed by it, and artists want to have a wall in it.

Irene Navarro /

Come by the front entrance on Jalan Gurdwara and meet your (or Hin Bus’) very own up-cycled Sally Carrera. No, you’re not supposed to drive it, even if you fancy yourself a Piston Cup champion.

Irene Navarro /

Who says you can’t picnic in town? Just bring your takeaway nasi (rice) from Deen Maju nearby and an espresso from Bricklin Cafe and you’ll be set for the afternoon.

Irene Navarro /

Madrid-based artist Sabek completed this pair of swans on Hin Bus’ modish, dilapidated wall for the Urban Xchange festival in 2015. The swans are frolicking between the lawn and the mini skate park.

Irene Navarro /

VANs may be the supplier of this mini skate park (where, on a good Sunday after the market has called it a day, you’ll find the local youth trying out their heel flips and kickbacks), but the mural on the left is supplied by Spain-based Jesus Moreno, whose work focuses on the interrelation between geometry, shapes, and colors.

Irene Navarro / © Culture Trip

Also commissioned for the 2015 Urban Xchange festival, this prowling Malayan tiger was completed by Hiroyasu Tsuri, also known as TwoOne. His art often features animal-headed, human-bodied creatures (but not this one, obviously).

Irene Navarro /

The sad-looking woman holding a baby’s head is painted by UK-based Caryn Koh, and the sad little girl in blue is the work of Lithuanian-born Ernest Zacharevic, better known as himself. This wall is next to Bricklin Cafe (also within the Hin Bus compounds).

Irene Navarro /

The side entrance features this quirky duo by Thai artist Patcharapol Tangruen, also known as Alex Face. Mardi (the child character on the right, with rabbit ears and a third eye) is the artist’s signature character and can be found all over the world.

Irene Navarro /

Whatever this character is doing, he’s certainly not swatting flies. Painted by Taiwan-based artist Han Chun Yueh, better known as Candy Bird, this satirical and big-headed (literally) figure looks like he’s trying to find his own silver lining.

Irene Navarro /

Make way for the babies! They’re tumbling ’round. The sculptures are courtesy of local artist Low Chee Peng, whose talents also include stone grinding and steel cutting.

Irene Navarro /

Another piece by Ernest Zacharevic, the boy with a traffic cone on his head reminds Baby Boomers of the games they played in childhood, and may be a reminder for the rest of us to put down our mobile phones once in a while to welcome the sun. On the right is a piece by English artist Thomas Powell, whose Chinese zodiac series around George Town has impressed many a local and tourist.

Keep your eyes peeled, or you might miss this self-censored figure painted by self-taught Iranian artist Nafir. His work focuses on social problems in Iran and the world.

Irene Navarro /

Here’s a third piece by Ernest Zacherevic, who needs no introduction by now. If you can do the bridge, join in the fun — and take a selfie to prove it!

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