The Barber. Peerawat Jariyasombat
Besides skyscrapers, lush parks, museums and shopping districts, Singapore today impresses visitors with street art virtually throughout the whole city.
The Little Red Dot is transforming into a city where artworks can be found all around town — paintings, sculptures and architecture that shows the perfect balance between Singapore culture and modern art. Recently added to the city is street art.
Today, more than a hundred murals spread across the precincts of Singapore. Here are some of the most popular spots worth a visit, especially for those heading there this holiday season.
Singapore’s quiet neighbourhood comes to life through murals by a self-taught local street artist and accountant named Yip Yew Chong, who tells stories about Everton Road through wall paintings. His murals, such as Amah, The Barber and Provision Shop, are sentimental embodiments of the artist’s younger days, back when he was living in the neighbourhood.
– Get off at MRT Tanjong Pagar.
Yip Yew Chong’s works can be found in places like Tiong Bahru. This is the place for those who love a slow life. The neighbourhood is full of cool cafes, restaurants and book shops, including another two of Yip’s murals. First, The Bird Singing Corner, which illustrates the bygone scene of Tiong Bahru Bird Arena, where bird lovers from Singapore and neighbouring countries used to gather and admire each other’s’ prized pets in their nicely decorated cages, chatting and sipping coffee.
– Get off at MRT Tiong Bahru.
Located in Singapore’s Kampong Glam, Haji Lane is famous for its variety of cafes, restaurants and, most importantly, the graffiti from talented artists on almost every inch of the street, from both Singapore and overseas — such as Ceno2, the local graffiti artist who did a mural on the outdoor wall of the Singapura Club restaurant, depicting a labourer wearing a turban, a Samsui woman and a Malay man, which refers to the heritage of Arab Street and the multiethnic identity of the restaurant, which serves Asian and North Indian food. The other gigantic mural at Haji Lane that cannot be missed is by Jaba, a Colombia street artist who’s created a huge collection of works on the walls of the restaurant Piedra Negra. Hippie-meets-tribal murals are waiting to greet you from all sides.
– Get off at MRT Bugis.
The vibrant enclave houses a multitude of colourful street art. Starting at Banda Street, the entire lane is decorated with murals from the Colouring Banda Street 2015 project, which took some 600 Singapore volunteers and local residents more than six months to complete. One of the highlights is Welcome To Our World, which features the Samsui women, female immigrants from China in red headscarves, who contributed greatly to the building of Singapore in the mid-90s. And the Cool Dude mural that depicts the male immigrants who worked as fishermen and labourers.
On Amoy Street, the back wall of Thian Hock Keng Temple has been transformed into a big art piece, telling the story of Singapore’s early Hokkien immigrants, from when they left their homeland of China to when they arrived in Singapore. The picture mirrors the sacrifices, hardships and joys they experienced along the way.
– Get off at MRT Chinatown.
Stroll along streets and back alleys, and your eyes will be drawn to extravagant murals showcasing Singapore’s colourful past. Highlights are the Traditional Trades Of Little India at Belilios Lane, depicting the trades common to Little India when merchants and traders settled in the precinct many years ago.
– Get off at MRT Little India.
Mural behind Thian Hock Keng Temple. Photos: Peerawat Jariyasombat