The development of ‘making Georgetown’ Wall sculpture and its role in the aesthetic gentrification of Georgetown / Cao Yue

Cao , Yue (2019) The development of ‘making Georgetown’ Wall sculpture and its role in the aesthetic gentrification of Georgetown / Cao Yue. Masters thesis, Universiti Malaya.

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      The purpose of this study is to investigate the development of Making Georgetown wall sculpture and the role of its aesthetic gentrification in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. The data of this study is collected through interviews with international tourists, local residents and artists in Georgetown. Meanwhile the mainstream Malaysian newspapers, such as Nanyang, Guanghua and Sinchew, provided much reliable information about the timeline of the project. This research examines the three waves of aesthetic gentrification in Georgetown by adopting the concept of aesthetic gentrification from Chang’s (2016) research for Little India in Singapore, since Georgetown shares many similarities with Little India in terms of multi-cultural, multi-racial and heritage features. This research also examines the emotional connection between residents and sculptures adapt from concept of peacemaking, and investigate the sense of belongings and historical memories of residents. The findings show that after the nomination of Georgetown as World Heritage Site by UNESCO, aesthetic gentrification was initiated in Georgetown. From 2008 to 2017, the wall sculpture can be seen being produced in three stages, which are the planning phase, the preparatory phase and the installment phase. The wall sculptures are designed under government sponsorship for the preservation of Georgetown’s heritage and to boost the tourism industry. Today, there are 52 extant wall sculptures on the street. The findings also reveal the actual processes that took place during the three waves of aesthetics gentrification in the development of wall sculptures, featured the Georgetown style art gentrification. Policy-driven sponsorship changed the artistic atmosphere from traditional trade-oriented to art tourism-oriented. It attracted many artists to resettle in the heritage zone. The previous residents who relied on the low cost of rents and livelihood started to be replaced by a new upper-middle class. This resulted in conflicts among their these new neighborhoods, as some of the previous residents and the new immigrants intensely debate on the identities of art. During the last stage of art gentrification, the competition for space occurred in the heritage zone, since residents’ living space become extremely limited by the artworks occupying the street space and the foreign capital purchasing the old buildings.

      Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
      Additional Information: Dissertation (M.A.) – Faculty of Creative Arts, Universiti Malaya, 2019.
      Uncontrolled Keywords: Wall sculpture; Aesthetic Gentrification; Placemaking; Heritage; Georgetown
      Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
      N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
      Divisions: Cultural Centre
      Depositing User: Mr Mohd Safri Tahir
      Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2023 02:01
      Last Modified: 28 Jan 2023 02:01

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