A Journey through Words
Penang is one of the most polyglot societies anywhere in the world. As a consequence of its history as an outward-looking port city, the communities who settled on the island brought not only their oral language and written literature but also their scripts: Jawi, Rumi, Mandarin, Hokkien, Teochew, Tamil, Malayalam, Punjabi, Hindi, Arabic, English, Dutch and more.
In recognition of this unique cultural history, the artist Goh Hun Meng and the writer Gareth Richards explore the visual representation of the changing dynamics of the most human of attributes – language.
The artwork presented in Character Types engages with directly words, both literally and figuratively. Using the iconography of the world’s four major writing systems, which are each used both officially and in the everyday in Penang, the images show how languages have been loaned, borrowed, absorbed and adapted over many centuries. The artwork is accompanied by texts that examine both the fixing of meanings of words as well as the ways those meanings can change with time and context.
The exhibition celebrates the character in two related senses: the beautiful symbolic characters, scripts and fonts that carry languages; and the character of the peoples who share them.
Dates 29 March–28 April 2018
Open to the public Every day: 10.00am–10.00pm
Exhibition opening Thursday 29 March 2018 at 5.30pm
Goh Hun Meng is a visual artist and graphic designer who lives in Penang.
Gareth Richards is a Penang-based writer, editor and bookseller.
Venue: Art Space 1, ChinaHouse, 153-155 Beach Street, George Town, Penang
Tel: 04 263 7299