When it comes to arts and culture, Singapore delivers. The island is home to about 50 museums and there are many state-of-the-art theatres that bring us world-class performances on a regular basis. Art has even spilt over onto the streets, as murals on the walls of hidden corridors and alleyways. They inject life and energy into the walls, enriching our streets—only in the way art can—with the spirit, culture and history of Singapore.
As a new resident to this nation, there is so much to see and explore, and checking out these cool murals should definitely be on your list of must-dos. Here are seven spots to stop and admire the unique artistic expressions of a myriad of talented local and international street artists. This list is by no means exhaustive but it serves as a great starting-off point on your tour of Singapore street art.
Little India isn’t just the best place to go for some awesome Indian food, traditional attire, beautiful trinkets and wares. While exploring the beautiful Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple and absorbing the rich flavours, smells and sounds, don’t miss out on the phenomenal murals that adorn the walls of the market complex.
Layers by Shah Rizzal and Book-a-Meeting by Eunice Lim are just some of the murals you will see that are inspired by and infused with the history, culture and heritage of the area. The street art was born as part of an innovative multi-disciplinary public art undertaking by the Singapore Tourism Board and LASALLE College of the Arts called the ARTWALK Little India, an annual event that began in 2015. Walk along Race Course Road, Buffalo Road and Belilios Lane to check out the amazing artwork.
A short distance away is the area known as Arab Street, Singapore’s historic Muslim quarter, which consists of Bussorah Street, Muscat Street, Bali Lane and Haji Lane.
Part of the Kampong Glam heritage trail, the area is filled the brilliant hues of gorgeous textiles and fabrics, the best selection of halal food (from nasi padang to gelato to freshly baked parmesan cheese scones!) and home to the historic Masjid Sultan Mosque.
While at Haji Lane, you can slowly admire and of course, take plenty of Instagram-worthy shots of the amazing murals, while exploring the small indie stores for original crafts, bags and unique jewellery designs and cool one-of-a-kind vintage items.
Telok Ayer is the home to an incredible 40m long mural by local painter Yip Yew Chong. Located at the back of the Thian Hock Keng Temple, the mural provides a window into the lives of the immigrants of yesteryear. There are a total of seven frames, each showcasing a different facet of life way back, from kampong scenes to weddings to samsui women and the old Singapore River.
Old shophouses in this vibrant and trendy district have been repurposed and replaced by some of the best cafes, niche bookstores and interesting restaurants. It’s not surprising that here is also where you will find many remarkable heritage murals that hark back to what life was like just decades ago. Make sure not to miss those by artist Yip Yew Chong, such as the Pasar and the Fortune Teller along Eng Watt Street and Bird Singing Corner on Seng Poh Lane.
Spottiswoode Park Road
For something a little unexpected, how about two giant ‘bunnies’ down at Outram Park? Bangkok artist Patcharapol Tangruen, aka Alex Face, made an indelible mark on the streets of Singapore with his signature creatures. Colourful, fluffy and cute, what looks like a pair of kids dressed in bunny costumes are adorned in traditional Chinese and Peranakan attire.
Bras Basah/Bugis District
The Bras Basah and Bugis area could very well be described as an artists’ enclave; it is where you will find the Singapore Art Museum and the National Museum, among others. Street art is alive and thriving here as well! Stroll along the ‘outdoor street gallery’ along 222 Queen Street and 51 Waterloo Street for works by local mural painters Yuen Kum Cheong and Yip Yew Chong as well as explore dynamic collaborations by international and local street artists.
On the walls of *SCAPE hub in Orchard Road is where you will find powerful and vibrant street art by young, up-and-coming street artists. There is a change-up of the artwork every few months so you can always look forward to something new and different.
For a change of pace, how about checking out some street art/graffiti that is a little less regulated? Over at the Scape Youth Park and the Somerset Skate Park are a couple of the few places in Singapore where drawing on public property without any need for permission is allowed. Rather than commissioned pieces, the artwork that you will find on the walls, ramps grounds of the Somerset Skate Park is raw, edgy, freely drawn and painted, no prior permission needed. Perhaps this may be an opportunity for you to give it a try?