Singapore Street Art. Seems like an unlikely combination. Singapore is known for being orderly. Clean. Crazy Rich Asians. When we were planning our trip to SIngapore, street art was not on our list of things to do. We’d heard of Haji Lane Street Art but we were more excited to see the street art scene in Penang, Hanoi, and Cambodia.
We discovered that Singapore has some of the best street art in Southeast Asia. There are beautiful murals all over the city. Chinatown, Little India, Kampong Glam, Everton Park, Tiong Bahru, Ang Mo Kio and Haji Lane Street are full of murals. In the Somerset Skate Park and the Sultan Gate area, there are also (approved) graffiti walls.
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Singapore Street Art Approval Process
Singapore has a street art culture that … well, fits Singapore. You see, unapproved street art and graffiti is still illegal (caning and jail are the punishments), but approved street art has been growing since 2015.
Paint street art on any wall in Singapore requires approval from the government. If the request is not in a historic conservation area, approval can happen in a matter of weeks. It can take a year or more if the proposed site is within a historic conservation area.
Does this hamper creativity? To some degree. We spoke to local graffiti artists and mural painters and they simply navigate within this system. There is very little or no underground or illegal graffiti or street art painting in Singapore. However, the Street Art in Singapore is as good as or better than anywhere we have seen.
Have You Seen Street Art in the US? Bushwick Brooklyn is an Amazing Outdoor Street Art Gallery.
History of Street Art in Singapore
Street art is a very recent development in Singapore. If you know about Street Art in Penang, then you’ve come across Lithuanian street artist Ernest Zacharevic. He was very instrumental in creating the street art scene in Penang. He also was one of the first to paint street murals in Singapore and inspired many local Singaporean artists.
In 2015, the government commissioned 50 murals to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence. Since then, street art has sprouted all over. Little India, Chinatown and Kampong Glam have a lot of the “older” murals. There is new art all over the place.
Meet Singaporean Street Artist YC Yip
One of the local artists that was inspired by Zacharevic is Yip Yew Chong (YC Yip). He grew up in Singapore and paints murals that depict historic Singapore. His murals can be found in Chinatown, Tiong Bahru, Ang Mo Kio, the National Museum of Singapore and elsewhere. The mural below is called the Letter Writer and it is In Chinatown at 333 Smith Street. In the early 1900, Chinese immigrants to Singapore used to go to the market to find a letterwriter to send news back to China. YC always has a cat somewhere in his murals. In this mural it is easy to find.
Right next to it is a mural created by an Australian artist for the 2015 celebration.
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Where are the Singapore Murals?
Little India, Chinatown, Kampong Glam, Haji Lane, Orchard Road, Tanjong Pagar, Everton Park, Tiong Bahru and Ang Mo Kio are just a few of the places to find murals. We have grouped the locations into 4 areas:
Chinatown and the Central Business District (CBD)
Other Places to Visit: Somerset Skate Park, Tiong Bahru, Ang Mo Kio
Wander and you will see a lot more places with street art.
Little India Street Art Gallery
Street Art in Little India
Little India is full of street art. It is best to wander around discovering murals as you go. Alternatively, you can follow the route below to see some of the murals in Little India.
Closest MRT: To do the route below, take the MRT to Little India. You can also take the MRT to Jalan Besar and do the Street Art Walk in reverse. The route is 1.3KM.
While in Little India, stop by Mustafa’s for some shopping or one of the many excellent Indian restaurants.
Little India Street Art Walk
- 74 Race Course Road – A Ride Through Race Course Road by Jaxton Su
- 27 Chander Road – Jasmine Flowers by Nadiah Alsagoff (Artwalk Little India 2018)
- 60 Kerbau Road – In the Clouds (Park 22 Hotel) by Speak Cyptic (Artwalk Little India 2019)
- 67 Kerbau Road – Buffaloes by Eunice Lim (right next to Little India MRT exit E), Artwalk Little 2017
- 33 Kerbau Road – Diff/Fusion by Zul Zero (Artwalk Little India 2019)
- 34 – 50 Buffalo Road – not sure who these were I think they were from Artwalk 2015/6
- 20 Clive Street – A Scent of Lights by Song (Artwalk 2019)
- 212 Serangoon Road (at Baboo Lane) – Bus 181 by Didier Jaba Mathieu
- 1 Hindoo Road – Little India
- 11 Hindoo Road – Rajinikanth by Zero
- 109 Rowell Road – Miami Man by El Mac
Little India Street Art Map
Kampong Glam and Haji Lane Street Art Gallery
Kampong Glam & Haji Lane Street Art
Some of the most interesting street art in Singapore can be found in the Kampong Glam area. Within Kampong Glam, you can spend hours wandering Haji Lane, Aliwal Art Center, Bras Basah, Waterloo Street and Queen Street. We have broken this into two routes to make it more manageable. You can do both in a day. The first walk is 2.4KM and the second is concentrated in one block. Don’t miss the Didier Jaba Mathieu mural on Beach Road and Ophir. It is huge, detailed and stunning. The second walk is short, but very worth doing. The Waterloo Street murals will give you a sense of the old Singapore.
Street Walk 1: Haji Lane Street Art, Aliwal Art Center, Sultan Gate & Beach Road
- Start at Aliwal Arts Centre, 28 Aliwal Street (behind the center is a wall covered with several graffiti and mural pieces)
- 71 Sultan Gate (across from Man) – check out The Black Book and batik-like mural by Slacsatu
- 29 Sultan Gate – Coffee Story (ARC coffee roastery no longer exists) by Yip Yew Chong
- 241 Beach Road (the mural continues around the corner of Ophir Road and extends halfway down the block) – one of the largest & most colorful sci-fi themed mural in Singapore) by Didier Jaba Mathieu
- 26 Haji Lane (both sides of Pahang St) filled with intimate portraits, colorful grafitti
- Ernest Zacharavic
Kampong and Haji Lane Street Art Map
Street Art Walk 2: Bugis Area, Bras Basah, Victoria Street, Waterloo and Queen Street
This is a 1 block area with some very interesting art. On Queen Street, there is a street art wall with works by many artists. On Waterloo Street, there are interactive murals by YC Yip and Yuen Kum Cheong.
- 222 Queen St (side wall facing Oxford Hotel) – many graffiti works including Alex Face’s Mardi
- 51 Waterloo St (interactive murals with doors showing bygone days of Singapore like National Library, Van Kleef Aquarium, going to the cinema, army days) by Yip Yew Chong and Yuen Kum Cheong
Chinatown Street Art Gallery
Chinatown and Central Business District
Chinatown and the Central Business District (CBD) is the place to go to see street art that tells the History of Singapore and the Chinese community. The murals are throughout Chinatown, CBD, Tanjong Pagar, Everton Park, Thian Hock Keng Temple and the Amoy Street Food Court.
The Thian Hock Keng Temple mural by YC Yip tells the history of the Hokkien community in Singapore or the Amoy Street Hawker Center. Don’t miss it.
Take a break and eat at Amoy Street Hawker Center while you are street art hunting.
We have separated this into 2 walks. The first goes from Barber (40 Everton Road) to Amah (6 Everton Rd) to Provision Shop (8 Spottiswoode Park Rd) to Alex Face at 2 Blair Road. The second is in the heart of Chinatown.
Chinatown Walk 1
- 40 and 6 Everton Road – Barber and Amah by YC Yip.
- 8 Spottiswoode Park (at Everton Road) – Provision Shop and Soyabean Drinks cart by YC Yip
- 2 Blair Road (back of gallery located here) – Mardi by Alex Face
To get there: Outram Park is the closest MRT stop
Chinatown Walk 2
In the heart of Chinatown, cut through Pagoda Street connecting Smith and Temple Streets to see YC Yip’s Letter writer at 333 Smith Street adorning the Chinatown Complex Food Market building. This walk is 1.2KM.
- 83 Pagoda Street – Mid Autumn Moon cake and lantern festival by YC Yip
- Mohamed Ali Lane (at North Bridge Road) – a series of 4 murals: Mamak Store, Paper Mask & Puppet Seller, Lion Dance Head Maker and The Window all by YC Yip
- 158 Telok Ayer Street – Thian Hock Keng Mural: An Immigrant’s Story by Yip Yew Chong (immense 40 metre piece depicting history of the Hokkien’s migration to Singapore)
- Amoy Street Food Center (inside wall facing Muslim stalls) has a series of murals, includning the Samsui Woman
To get there: Chinatown is the closest MRT stop.
Chinese New Year in Singapore is a good time to visit Chinatown.
Chinatown Street Art Map 1
Chinatown Street Art Map 2
The secong goes from Pagoda Street to the Amoy Street Food center
Mural Under the Anderson Bridge Tunnel
Additional Areas for Street Art Singapore
There are a number of other areas to see street murals in Singapore. For Singapore Graffiti, go to the Somerset Skate Park (Nearest MRT is Somerset).KLEM is a local Street artist that shared with us his thoughts about graffiti in Singapore. There are murals in some of the housing complexes (Ang Mo Kio, Tiong Bahru).
If you are in Clarke Quay, checkout the mural in the tunnel under the Anderson Bridge.
Street art is ever changing. There will be new murals all over the city by the next time we are there. Looking forward to seeing the next iteration of street art in Singapore.
Visiting Singapore? Read our post on Best Singapore Itinerary 4 Days & Singapore Myths.
What do you think about Street Art in Singapore? Any Surprises? We are interested in Hearing your Thoughts. Please leave a comment or question.
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