Did you know that despite Singapore’s reputation for clean streets and strict rules, there is a flourishing street art scene? While unsanctioned vandalism of public property still faces harsh punishment, more property owners have started to open up their blank walls, allowing local and international street artists to showcase their creativity in public spaces. Here are ten spots where you can find the best street art in Singapore.
Fans of Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic‘s works don’t have to go to Penang to see his art – he has several works, featuring his trademark images of local children playing, scattered along this stretch of road between Arab Street and Jalan Sultan. The piece with an actual supermarket shopping cart is especially popular. Also of note is the giant camera-shaped building that houses the Vintage Cameras Museum, with a mural by Singaporean artist Ceno2 on its side.
Hipsters love Haji Lane for its many indie boutique retail outlets – but what attracts the photographers are the Insta-worthy murals that cover the walls of the shophouses near the Beach Road junction. Colombian artist Didier Jaba Mathieu’s futuristic pop-colour characters feature prominently, but don’t miss the alleyway that connects to Arab Street which features works by Ceno2, Yok & Sheryo and local crew ZincNiteCrew.
Pop into the alleyway behind the Aliwal Arts Centre and you’ll find an ever-changing canvas of works on the back walls. This is thanks mostly to local crew RSCLS, who have a studio space in Aliwal Arts Centre alongside many of Singapore’s prominent performing arts groups. Pop over to Sultan Arts Centre across the street to find graffiti shop The Blackbook Studio and you may even chance upon the artists at work on the long panels in its yard.
A popular market and hawker food spot in Singapore, there are several murals to be found around the market complex. This is thanks to the annual ARTWALK Little India, an outdoor arts festival that commissions local and international artists to create works celebrating the culture of this Indian heritage district. Check out Buffalo Road, Race Course Road and Bellilos Lane for various murals that pay tribute to past landmarks and customs unique to Little India.
The youth-oriented *SCAPE hub has both indoor and outdoor walls covered with friendly, bright murals by young street artists that are refreshed every few months. For something a little more raw and less regulated, cross the road towards the Scape Youth Park where you will find budding graffiti throw-ups along the low walls around this area.
The Somerset Skate Park is one of the only places in Singapore where street art can be created freely on the walls and ramps without anyone needing to get prior permission first (unlike most of the commissioned walls around the island). Besides the walls, you will find graffiti scrawled across the ramps and floor, too.
Art is in abundance in this district with the Singapore Art Museum, National Museum and various private galleries within a stone’s throw – but of biggest note to street art lovers is the long wall on the side of 222 Queen Street that connects to Waterloo Street. This long wall is an outdoor gallery for various street art projects, the latest being a collaborative project between Singaporean and Thai street artists.
Home to Singapore’s largest hawker centre and a sprawling market on its lower floors, the walls and pillars of Chinatown Complex and its surroundings showcase murals that depict the history of Chinatown and the daily lives of the Chinese immigrants living in Singapore. Most of these works are a result of student and community-led projects.
This hipster district is known for great coffee and several famous heritage murals by Singaporean artist Yip Yew Chong, whose art is tinged with nostalgia and a dose of wit as he chronicles what life used to be like back in the day on the walls around Everton Road; from back alley barbers to old school provision shops.
This independent contemporary arts centre was once an actual substation, but these days produces powerful art performances instead of any electricity. The walls along the sides of the building facing the Peranakan Museum and live music venue Timbre are home to various street art works, which successfully bring to life an otherwise dreary side street.