Add the Meowseum in Penang to your list of places to visit

Add the Meowseum in Penang to your list of places to visit

On a lark our Vibes CnL writer and friend stepped into and explored the Meowseum of Georgetown

IN a world where you’re either a dog or cat person (not including those on the fence), lays a quaint little cat themed art museum in the heart of Georgetown, Penang.

Built and run by owner and founder, Mr Shin, this Meowseum is a sanctuary to a decade worth of collected cat art.

Bringing his personal collection out of his storeroom and into the light for all to see, Mr Shin aspires to bring the love of art to the public through the means of a very familiar subject – cats.

Stemming from his own interests and hobby, the museum not only carries artwork by famous artists like Pablo Picasso, Utagawa Kuniyoshi and Andy Warhol, it also houses sculptures, statues, figurines, books, dolls and many other types of memorabilia from all over the world.

Only signing the lease to the museum-house two months before the pandemic hit, Mr Shin – although ridden with much difficulties from the pandemic and the countless MCOs – did his very best to look at the situation positively and clocked in an average of 18 hours a day to set up the Meowseum, and the level of detail and heart put into setting up the place is very obvious as you walk through the halls; detailed labelling and organised arrangements.

Planning and setting up the place, unrolling and framing each and every painting, arranging and modifying display cases and the different sections of the Meowseum, Mr Shin was a one-man show from beginning to end, and learning about this only adds another level of respect and appreciation towards him and his museum.

As an individual who has spent almost her whole life as a dog-person, the interest towards all things cat only blossomed when my family was adopted by a little Calico last year. In fact, she was the first ever feline in our family line.

However, regardless of whether you are a dog or cat person, this exhibition offers more than just picture of cats drawn in various ways; it opens up the gates for individuals to gather together and talk all things art.

Understanding that the appreciation towards art is severely lacking, Mr Shin is using his personal interest in art and cats to open the doors for individuals to dabble.

Looking at all the paintings, it was a wonder to see how much cats have been a subject of interest in the artistic realm. In the words of the owner, whose passion is even more evident through the conversation that we had, cats have always been an interest of artists – and is the most painted animal in history – due to their relatively emotionless expressions, allowing artists to interpret them however they wish to.

It is through the introduction and exposure to art through cats that Mr Shin hopes to instill within people an interest in art and for them to start approaching it with a new sense of understanding and appreciation; and I must say that he definitely succeeded with my travel buddy and I.

Upon walking into the Meowsuem, we were taken aback with the amount of cats displayed. To quote our exclamation, “I have never seen so many cats gathered in one place; it’s just all cat”. And we’re not exaggerating when we say everything had at least one cat on it or was cat-shaped; from the postbox on the outside, to the curtains and pillows in their little in-house library.

One of our personal favourites being a Meow book that was just collection of dialogues in meows.

But as commoners untrained to look at and interpret art, it wasn’t till we spoke to Mr Shin that we understood how artists never add cats to their artwork for the sake of fun and aesthetics.

In art history, as explained by the owner himself, cats are always added into a piece of art as a symbolism for something. Like the 1504 painting of Adam and Eve by German artist Albrecht Dürer, the cat portrayed at the bottom middle of the artwork symbolises lust. How you interpret that based on the painting is then left to your own devices.

This Meowsuem is only a few doors down from the Penang Ghost Museum, and is definitely a must visit; even if you are new to art, take this opportunity to explore it through the world of cats.

We do want to note that despite the museum’s immense display of felines, this is not a place for individuals who are looking to play and interact with some actual cats and although this exhibition houses four of the owner’s cats, they are not there as mascots for the museum.

In fact, like any cats – if you are familiar with these apparently celestial beings – us humans are merely guests in their house, there to serve; so no touching or petting or even taking pictures of the in-house cats.

Check out the Meowseum’s Facebook and Instagram.

source – The Vibes

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