Street art in Singapore

Tired of sitting around inside? Already binged 10 years worth of Netflix? Well, if the circuit breaker makes you feel detached from the outside world, remember this: A lone stroll around the sights and sounds of Singapore—fully masked, of course—is still a source of tranquility and escape from the madness of the current lockdown.

It’s during these times that I find myself enjoying the Instagram experiences of friends and peers. There are plenty of restaurant and shopping shots to ogggle, but street art in Singapore is something we don’t see often as it is known for having strict laws and being very clean. Most of the murals that you see are commissioned artwork that was created after getting permission. The reason for this is that if anyone is caught creating such art, they are to be prosecuted under the country’s Vandalism Act of 1966, and can be fined, jailed or sentenced to caning. Even so, when it is found, it becomes the perfect spot to have a photo shoot. Not only that, what found here tend to be nostalgic, telling a story about the country’s past and people, making it more meaningful.

These are some of the places that might provide a great spot to wander and reflect:

1. Haji Lane

Haji Lane is the street that Singapore is most well-known for its quirky vintage shops, artisanal cafes, and alleyways that are just covered with murals done by the best street artists here. You can find a variety of different types of graffiti’s here, going from funky artworks to telling the past about Singapore. There is also a huge variety of use of colors, making it more vibrant and a perfect place to take pictures. Not only that, but there are also a lot of eateries such as the Blanco Court Coffee Shop that is unique in a way where the doors and chairs are colored with quotes, which then makes the experience more colorful and fun to be around. Overall, there’s just so many different places you can take instagrammable photos and just admire. the beautiful art. Besides art, it is also a place that consists of many local stores, such as those that sell vintage clothing, accessories, wall-paintings, and even cute aesthetic plants.

2. Aliwal Street

Aliwal is a neighborhood that contains colorful and mesmerizing graffitis. Every year, they have held an urban art festival where more artworks are drawn behind the Aliwal Arts Centre on black walls. During this event, you can view street art veterans live painting, giving you a look into how they create these arts, and also allow yourself to try it out yourself. Not only that, but they also hold sports, dances, music, and lifestyle activities you can try out, just making the experience all better. Even when there’s no event happening, you can always still visit to take insta-worthy photos with the graffitis, or take a stroll around Kampong Glam and take a look at the murals and street art that helped to characterize the street. These works also give you an understanding of the history of the Malay-Muslim quarter and the vibrant neighborhood.

3. China Town

Chinatown is the place you should visit if you want to see street art that tells a story about the history of Singapore and the Chinese community, such as the mooncake festival, the Chinese opera, common household items own generations ago, etc., bringing back the memories of the past and evoking plenty of nostalgia. All these murals can be found throughout Chinatown, CBD, Tanjong Pagar, Everton Park, Thian Hock Keng Temple, and the Amoy Street Food Court. The streets are filled with colorful paintings capturing scenes of the former times on the walls of historic buildings. While viewing this art, you can also take a break and have a meal at the Amoy Street Food Court as they serve tasty dishes.

4. Coleman Bridge

Numerous murals are lying beneath the canals found under the Coleman bridge that can be used as beautiful backdrops for your photos. This underpass that links New Bridge Road and Hill Street bursts with the beautiful colors of artworks by Social Creatives and non-profit arts and social enterprises. You can find art that will take you back to old Singapore, such as there are paintings of Sir Stamford Raffles, the Samsui women, the roaring lion, etc. Besides that, there are usually buskers that would be playing music as you walk past and admire the artworks. After that experience, you can also go back above and take a stroll along the Singapore River.

5. Bras Basah

Around Bras Basah, it is full of museums, art schools, and design studios, which is why it is also one of the must place to visit for street art. If you walk down to 222 Queen Street and 51 Waterloo street, you would encounter a lot of creative graffitis that is an outdoor gallery consisting of various street art projects, which makes perfect backgrounds for photos to be taken. Not only that, but you can also look at art that looks into the historic side as artist Yuen Kum Cheong took inspiration from Bras Basah history across Odeon Cinema, National Theatre, National Library, etc.

Author: Hyun Ju

Hyun Ju Lee is currently a senior and this is her second year being part of The Eye. She is a Korean that was born in Boston, but raised in Singapore since she was two years old. She can be contacted at lee46856@sas.edu.sg

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