One of the most creative ways to decorate the walls of a building is mural art. Singapore is home to a number of wall paintings that tell the story of the different areas and communities. Mural hunting is a way for visitors to explore Singapore.
“Madan Mogra, Jasmine of the City” by multi-disciplinary artist Nadia Alsagoff on (1) Chander Road shows a single migrant landscape worker wearing his safety gear, nursing a Jasmine plant growing out of a crevice in the concrete - this artwork looks at migrant workers and how their lives are affected by the circumstances that they are born into.
“Traditional Trades of Little India” at (2) Belilios Lane, created by artist Psyfool, aims to highlight the trades common to Little India when merchants and traders settled in the precinct decades ago. The various trades include the dhobi (laundry man), the parrot astrologer and others that were common business and important to the sustenance of the settlers residing in the area.
More murals in Little India can be found on Clive Street, Kerbau Road and Hindoo Road.
On Jalan Pisang, you can find the largest mural in the area, “Girl and the Cub”, and around the corner on Victoria Street, “Kids in Trolleys” has found a home. Although the latter piece is smaller in size, it features an interactive 3D elements which makes it an extremely popular spot to take photos - both among travellers and locals.
Make your way to Aliwal Street, Sultan Arts Village, Sultan Gate and of course the famous Haji Lane afterwards to discover more paintings on wall.
In Chinatown, one of the most stunning works is located on the rear wall of 177-year-old Thian Hock Keng temple on Amoy Street, spanning a whopping 40 metres.
Created by local artist Yip Yew Chong, this mural tells the story of early Hokkien immigrants to Singapore - their struggles, their dreams and sacrifices.
On Armenian Street, you can find the first mural commissioned by the National Heritage Board along the wall of an open air car park, depicting various buildings of the area.
Still in the same street, discover more mural art on (1) The Substation, and around the corner on (2) Queen Street on a wall facing the Oxford Hotel.
This mural artwork was a collaboration between Singaporean and Thai street artists from Bangkok. (3) Waterloo Street houses six different murals by artists Yip Yew Chong and Yuen Kum Cheong that commemorate the rich history of the precinct by recreating scenes of the past.
Finally, head to Bras Basah Complex in Bain Street to see the mural “50 Bridges” and Naumi Hotel whose side wall features a mural created by local artist Trase One.
There is also a growing mural art scene in Indonesia.
26-year-old Bunga Fatia began working on street art over a decade ago and established Indonesia’s first female street artists community called “Ladies on Wall”. The community now has over 30 members.
“I realized that it is not easy to find and mingle with other female mural artists. This art form is largely dominated by male artists,” Bunga says. “Therefore, I founded my own community and connected the members through social media. That way, I connected with female mural artists in other cities, and we began to attend events together.”
One of the members of “Ladies on Wall” is Karina Deagusta, who has harboured an interest in street art when she was still in high school. She started sketching and creating street art without a mentor or tutor. “I love drawing monsters on my street art,” she explains. “I checked out other mural artist’s Instagram accounts for inspiration in my spare time. Some of my favorite street artists from Singapore are Inkten & Clog_two who travel and paint around the world. They inspired me to travel more outside my hometown in Bogor and paint mural arts in different places.”
Both artists hope to be able to meet international mural artists for exchange and possible collaboration in the future.
“One of the most memorable events I attended in June 2014 was The Rebel Daughters in Singapore,” Bunga recalls. “I was able to meet other female mural artists from Southeast Asia, and we painted at Queens Street and Esplanade area together. I hope I can visit Singapore again. I know there is a famous mural art located at Piedra Negra restaurant along Haji Lane, I want to go on a mural hunt and discover lesser known works in places like Tiong Bahru and Everton Park.”