It’s hard to imagine that this is Ernest Zacharevic’s first solo exhibition. His facebook page has over 90,000 fans. At 27 years old, this Lithuanian lad has achieved iconic status in Malaysia and now internationally. The BBC referred to Ernest as Malaysia’s answer to Banksy.

It all started with one mural in Georgetown, Penang about 2 1/2 years ago. You can watch the time lapse video here of him painting the mural.

I first met him and his girlfriend Gabija about 2 years ago by accident. He had just finished painting that first mural. My first impression of them was that they were both brave, passionate, dynamic and incredibly talented. (and super nice) They were travelling the world and stumbled upon Penang and decided to stay. (My memory is hazy but I will go with this story ;p) I met them at the restaurant/art studio they set up in Georgetown. The following day I bumped into Ernest juggling on the streets. They basically just did what they loved and followed their passion. Soon after, he became an overnight success when George Town Festival commissioned 8 murals to be painted around Georgetown Unesco Heritage site. I never saw them again until yesterday at his first solo exhibition.

I went to the exhibition because I absolutely love his work. I didn’t expect him and Gabija to be manning the show. They were both there and the exhibition is not only fantastic but absolutely free. I asked him, are you selling your art work? He replied no. I mainly give it to my friends or my sponsors. The space is fabulous as well. It is an old bus company building. It is a derelict but beautiful space which they found and want to try to maintain before any developer comes to destroy it.

The exhibition is called art is rubbish/rubbish is art is because he has turned rubbish into art. He has turned a derelict building into an exhibition space, worthy of a second look.

If you have never heard of him, here are some of the paintings from the show and you can google more of his street art, which is how he became so popular.

Art is Rubbish ~ Solo exhibition by Ernest Zacharevic
Art is Rubbish ~ Solo exhibition by Ernest Zacharevic
Ernest Zacharevic and Gabija Grušaitė
Ernest Zacharevic and Gabija Grušaitė

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Shark's fin
Shark’s fin

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Lego woman and Lego man by  Ernest Zacharevic
3D Lego woman and Lego man by Ernest Zacharevic

Finally the 3D lego woman and man. The lego figures are 3D replicas of a very controversial mural he recently painted in Johor, Malaysia. The authorities removed the mural after a few days because it highlighted the high crime rate in the country. He chose Lego man to depict the crime because there is a Legoland in Johor.

The exhibition is on until Feb 14 2014.

Address: Hin Company Bus Depot, Jalan Gurdwara, George Town, Penang