Photo by Buletin Mutiara – George Town Heritage Celebrations 2022 (GTHC 2022) restores physical format with three-day festivities on July 2, 3 and 7.
In conjunction with the 14th-anniversary commemoration of the city’s inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the George Town Heritage Celebrations 2022 (GTHC 2022) returned lively with physical celebrations ranging from more than 20 cultural performances, cultural workshops and video documentations after two years of muted festivities owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The three days celebration featured cultural performances by a pool of diverse Penang cultural practitioners and artisans, such as boria, dikir barat, Odissi dance, Chinese orchestra medley, martial arts demonstrations, lion dance and sitar recital.
The public was invited to participate in the workshops organised free of charge during the celebration. Workshops like creating Chinese and Malay calligraphy (tulisan Khat), Chinese paper-cutting craft and woodblock prints, wau, wayang kulit, henna art, kolam, and Thoranam (Indian hanging decorations) were swamped with participants who wanted to give a try in these artworks.
According to George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI) general manager Dr Ang Ming Chee, these workshops are organised in partnership with the Penang Islamic Foundation, Penang Hindu Association, Penang Clan Associations Youth Committee, Van Hin Book Co and Wak Long Music and Art Centre to deliver the unique cultural experience through authentic and diverse cultural craftsmanship.
Meanwhile, In The New Normal mini-documentary screening was held at Dewan Belia Lebuh Acheh on the same day at 7pm. The documentaries and films were made by local production companies during the Covid-19 pandemic with the aim to inspire and encourage Malaysians in entering the post-Covid-19 era.
Chief Minister of Penang YB Tuan Chow Kon Yeow and his team arrived at 7 pm to show support by joining the celebrations and workshops with the public.
GTWHI general manager Dr Ang Ming Chee said there were more than two thousand visitors each day during the three-day celebration, held on July 2, 3 and 7 and it was a successful exhilarating cultural festivities.
Organised by TLM Event Sdn Bhd and inaugurated in 2010, George Town Heritage Celebrations was initially mooted to celebrate the inscription of George Town as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the World Heritage List on 7 July 2008. Since 2015, it evolved into a “major Asian arts event” and an annual celebration taking place in George Town, Penang which attracts more than hundred thousands of people every year. Before the pandemic, the Celebrations usually last three or four days and feature interactive and educational programmes that includes workshops and performances in the streets of the heritage enclave.
With this year’s theme “A Festival For Everyone”, participants are given the opportunity to experience first-hand George Town’s living traditions through crafting workshops, film and theatre, dance, music and various cultural performances. The multicultural traditions is now accessible to all with the intention to passed down the understanding of diversified practices and craftsmanship through generations despite cultural and ethnic differences
Indulge in exhilarating cultural festivities
With the effort of organising unit GTWHI, the public and visitors got to immerse themselves fully in Penang’s cultural diversity through the wonderful activities.
Ngo Wan Jun, Year 2 Semester 3 from Degree in Communications (New Media), said that he was grateful to see GTHC returns physically and people started to gather, participate and celebrate this festival in the heritage area.
“I enjoyed the wayang kulit workshop the most as this is the first time I am experiencing this. Seeing the handmade puppet comes to life under the light and shadow really sparks my heart,” he added.
“This event (GTHC 2022) is very lively and meaningful. Although I haven’t participated before, I have been paying attention to it. The scale of this year’s celebration is smaller than that before the pandemic, but I can see George Town’s determination to hold this event. I also saw many foreigners also participate in this activity, so I think this event is very successful,” she said.