Between its skyscrapers and hawker centers, there’s more to the city state than meets the eye. Singapore might have a different relationship with street art as compared to other more liberal countries, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t exist! If you’ve already been to all the must-see places in Singapore, or you’re just drawn to hidden gems that are off the beaten track, then make sure to bookmark this page. Here are six places to see street art in Singapore!
1. Hall of Fame
Spontaneous graffiti is illegal in Singapore but the ‘Hall of Fame’ along Bali Lane and Ophir Road is one of the few places legally dedicated to street art in Singapore. The project was inspired by the neighbourhood’s role in the local arts scene and brought to life by 17 Singapore-based artists. They are painted onto 230-metre long, five-metre tall noise barriers around a construction project. It is estimated to go on for the next two years. There is no guarantee that this piece of artwork will still be around in the years to come, so make sure to see it while you can!
2. Little India
Little India is a heritage district for some of the best street art in Singapore. On 8 Bebilios Lane, the Traditional Trades of Little India depicts the tale of the parrot astrologers, dhobi (washerman), and the traders and merchants who settled here years ago. Delving deeper into Indian culture, see Alive@CLIVE at 104 Dunlop Street and Kathaka at 86 Serangoon Road which depicts traditional dancers. More murals which reflect the neighbourhood’s history include A Ride through Race Course Road at 74 Race Course Road, which pays tribute to the location’s past as a racecourse. There are dozens more street art in Little India, and for a full list of them you can check out The Occasional Traveller’s post here!
3. Aliwal Street
Aliwal Arts Centre at 28 Aliwal Street is another mural hotspot. The side and back walls of this cultural institution are available for street art experiment and practice. This means that the artwork here is ever-changing and you can always spot something new! Further down the road, the facade of Cuturi Gallery at 65 Aliwal Street is a larger than life mural by Didier Jaba Mathieu. It depicts seafaring ships and the Orang Laut, alluding to Singapore’s past, as well as nods to Singapore’s flora and fauna.
4. Tiong Bahru
Tiong Bahru is a hipster district in Singapore. Apart from really great cafes and food, you can also find some really great murals here. Check out the Bird Singing Corner at 71 Seng Poh Road, which depicts the local pastime of uncles chit chatting with one another while their pet birds sing symphonies. At 73 Eng Watt Street, the Pasar and the Fortune Teller points to olden-day Singapore where people are buying groceries and having a meal by the street. There is also a mural of a traditional fortune teller, which is based on an actual person who used to have a stall here!
Multiple murals are scattered around Chinatown. There is the iconic Samsui women mural at Chinatown Complex which pays homage to the women who contributed to Singapore’s development. Or the Letter Writer at New Bridge Centre, a tribute to Chinese letter writers who helped migrant Chinese communicate with their families in China. Along Keong Saik’s row of shophouses, there’s the Floral Mural, a burst of pastel hues which makes the perfect background for #OOTDs.
6. Singapore River
After your nightcap at one of the bars along Singapore River, check out the Underpass Murals under the river. Murals here include Gaia – Mother Earth, Wild Beginnings, Going Green, Star Crossed Lovers & Smoke-up which celebrates nature. The Dove, The Dragon and The Clock reminisces on the playground designs of the 70s and 80s. The Early Days references the history with various labourers, merchants, rickshaw pullers, policemen and food sellers of that time.