Elizabeth Briel, Travel Artist

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Beyond George Town

An exploration of how the language we use limits and expands our thinking.

We are made of the words we use. Our words define us to ourselves and to others; they can be worn like armor. Accents slot us into categories: where we come from, and how long ago. Our words shape us in ways we forget, until we learn another language.

Penang (Malaysia) residents are painted in their own words, in their native language: Malay, Chinese, Persian, Italian. Their words describe the island: its changes and challenges. The words form ghostlike silhouettes of residents who stand in front of heritage buildings, in a UNESCO Heritage town which has grown too expensive for many of its citizens to buy a home.

Cyanotype cliche-verre prints on paper, and large-scale Cyanotype cliche-verres on cotton batik fabric (4 x 6 – 8 x 10 feet). All printed during an artists residency at Universiti Sains Malaysia, on the UNESCO world heritage island of Penang. 

Images of the opening and large-scale works at China House in Penang. The exhibition was featured in the New Straits Times (Malaysia) 

Selected images on paper below:



Dreaming Big