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The best public art trails in Singapore

Get those cameras ready, we’re going on an art trail for murals, sculptures and installations

Lim Leong Seng, public art, china square
Photo: National Arts Council Chinese Procession by Lim Leong Seng
By Cam Khalid |
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There’s a good reason why spending time in an art museum takes more than merely an hour. As art junkies, we need a fair amount of time to appreciate and soak up the views of one artwork before moving onto the next. But are art exhibitions and galleries ever enough? The answer is no. From one art type to another, we’ve rounded the best free-and-easy art trails to peep the city’s street art, ranging from 2D murals to 3D sculptures.

RECOMMENDED: Must-see art exhibitions in Singapore and the best museums in Singapore

Little India

Little India
Photo by: Ahmad Iskandar Photography

Start at: Little India MRT Station

It’s no surprise that one of the most vibrant neighbourhoods in Singapore is none other than Little India. Be sure to look up and walk through alleyways to not miss out on the best bits of street art when exploring the culturally rich precinct.

Start off at Little India MRT Station and exit at Kerbau Road where you’ll come face-to-face with a tall, playful painting of colourful cows on bicycles by Eunice Lim.

Little India
Photo: National Heritage Board

Less obvious places include venturing down the narrow Race Course Road featuring Jaxton Su JingXiang’s mural of a horse galloping through a market, which leads to Chandar Road where you’ll find Nadiah Alsagoff’s tribute to migrant workers.

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ZERO, graffiti

Other odd spots include a carpark decked with Zero's painting of Indian actor Rajinikanth, Speak Cryptic's monochromatic floral mural at Park 22 Hotel, and Song's bold piece at 20 Clive Street. Another colourful piece by Zero can be found at 33 Kerbau Road.

 House of Tan Teng Niah

Down Tekka Lane, look out for a massive mural along by Psyfool and the kaleidoscopic House of Tan Teng Niah. Keep your eyes peeled as you head down towards the Indian Heritage Centre – there are loads more.

Chinatown

Amoy Street, Yip Yew Cheong
Photo: Ahmad Iskandar Photography

Start at: Telok Ayer MRT Station

The juxtaposition of traditional shophouses and modern skyscrapers is an art in itself. However, take some time to stroll down Chinatown where you’ll be greeted by a number of beautiful street art.

Get your cameras ready for a 40-metre mural by Yip Yew Chong along Amoy Street that captures the early lives of Hokkien immigrants. Head down the small park connecting Amoy Street and Telok Ayer Street for life-like sculptures of early Indian and Chinese settlers. 

Continue down the road towards Amoy Food Centre and head to the back for walls of art that feature dragons and Samsui women. These massive murals are designed and painted by students from the Anglo-Chinese School.

Lim Leong Seng, public art, china square
Photo: National Arts Council

Stop by China Square and China Square Central for more sculptures of school children playing the traditional game of capteh, as well as a Peranakan woman on a rickshaw manned by a bare-footed man – both by Lim Leong Seng.

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street art, ann siang hill, coconut club

Then, make your way to Ann Siang Hill where a giant painting of a pig awaits in an alleyway next to The Coconut Club. Note that this mural changes every year to reflect the animal of the year based on the Chinese Zodiac.

Ripple Root, Street Art, Keong Saik Road
Photo: Ripple Root

While you're in the area, catch a couple of brightly hued murals by local art collective Ripple Root. Walk down to Keong Saik Road for vibrant, dreamy floral motifs of the Peranakan tiles by art collective Ripple Root, located next to Loloku.

Then, head around the corner of Kilo Lounge – between 31 Hong Kong Street and 21 Tanjong Pagar Street – for another playful painting. Ripple Root pays homage to the building's heritage as a former nutmeg plantation by featuring a sepoy (guard), pagar (gate), singa (lion), stamp and a nutmeg plant.

Bugis-Bras Basah

NAFA, bras basah, public art
Photo: NAFA

Start at: Bencoolen or Bugis MRT Station

Practically a second home to art students in Singapore, the Bugis-Bras Basah district has a chock-full of impressive murals at every nook and cranny. Alight at Bencoolen MRT Station and head out to the NAFA campus where there are quirky benches designed by NAFA students and alumni for you catch a breather before the next art adventure.

yip yew chong, street art, mural, bras basah
Photo: Yip Yew Chong

Next, head out onto 222 Queen Street and 51 Waterloo Street (aka 222+51). Besides a medley of performing arts offerings, the arts centre has interactive murals – think walls with vintage doors that open to stunning visuals – in the signature style of Yip Yew Chong. Escape to the narrow road next to the building to capture the sights of a sky-high graffiti-filled wall tagged by local and international graffiti artists.

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Piedra Negra

Make the hipster favourite Haji Lane and its surrounding areas your next stop. Hole-in-the-wall shops, cafes and bars aside, the Arab quarters also boasts some of the best art in the city. Draw your eyes to the massive space cadets along Beach Road, another Yip Yew Ching gem by Sultan Gate, a monotoned Ceno2 special by The Singapura Club, and the contrasting vibrant walls of Piedra Negra which a hot favourite amongst tourists.

slacsatu, street art
Photo: Slacsatu

Stop by the Sultan Arts Village tucked in the quaint Malay enclave of Kampong Glam nearby where you’ll find an explosion of street art and graffiti. Check out The Black Book for all your graffiti tools while you’re at it. Take a stroll further down to Aliwal Arts Centre where fresh wall art pops up on its walls every now and then. 

Draw your attention to this alpha batik piece with a breath-taking explosion of colours right around the corner of Aliwal Arts Centre. It's created by local artists Slacsatu as part of the Aliwal Urban Arts Festival 2019.

Fort Canning

Tan Teng-Kee, public art, fort canning
Photo: National Arts Council

Start at: Dhoby Ghaut or Bras Basah MRT Station

It's not just lush greens here at Fort Canning. It's also home to jaw-dropping public art.

Start off at the National Museum of Singapore where you’ll spot a sculpture by YMCA that looks like a couple of ninja stars molded together by Tan Teng Kee. Get those cameras ready as you come across a myriad of impressive sculptures including ridged granite blocks, massive kernels, prismatic bronze figures, a colossal chili pepper, and more by local and international artists assembled around the National Museum.

Soak in the beauty of Romanian artist Alexandra Nechita’s cubism-style bronze female sculpture that’s also United Nations Peace Monument for Asia.

Fort Canning Park

Head towards the nearby Fort Canning Park next for the more sculptures vying for your attention. Scoot over to the ASEAN Sculpture Garden. Sited at the green, tranquil spot are modern sculptures created and donated by the five member countries of ASEAN – The Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

 

Civic District

National Gallery Singapore
Photo: Roy Tan

Start at: City Hall MRT Station

It’s a blast to past at the Civic District where history meets arts. Alighting from City Hall MRT Station, make your way to the National Gallery Singapore where you can find benches under the sheltered walkway featuring Tan Zi Xi’s (aka MessyMsxi) whimsical characters. 

The gallery itself is also a work of art. It retains the iconic exterior of the Old Supreme Court in all its architectural splendour but undergone a makeover where two buildings are joined together by a curved roof. It’s worth taking a pit stop inside as the interiors and art exhibitions are as stunning as its majestic facade.

Singapore River

We might not have the Michaelangelo statue, but cross over to Victoria Theatre for the arm-crossing piece of the founder of modern Singapore Sir Stamford Raffles. 

Walk down towards the Singapore River for the Arts House where you’ll find the bronze Elephant Statue gifted by King Chulalongkorn of Thailand.

It’s an outdoor art galore down here, with plenty of installations planted in the area. Past by the Asian Civilisations Museum and walk by the Singapore River where busts of historical figures, giant silver balls and exclusive modern art figures are sited. Cross over the Cavenagh Bridge for more bronze statues depicting Old Singapore.

The CBD

Roy Lichtenstein Millenia Walk
Photo: Pontiac Land Group

Start at: Esplanade or Raffles Place MRT Station

If you’ve been hitting the CBD for either business or leisure, you’ll be accustomed to the eye-catching sculptures by renown international artists including Roy Lichtenstein’s brush-stroked figures in full pop-art glory at Millenia Walk.

A walk towards Pan Pacific Singapore leads you to Lin Emery’s wave-like stainless steel sculpture. Treat yourself to a plethora of abstract art from Marina Square to Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Admire twisting sculptures by Charles Perry, the magnificent figure by Olivier Strebelle, a stunning piece by Antoine Poncet that sits in the middle of the Oriental’s fountain, and more. 

esplanade, happy family of five, Chua Boon Kee, public art
Photo: National Arts Council

For freshly rotated outdoor art, head over to Esplanade’s outdoor plaza where you find local sculptors Han Sai Por’s seed-like giants, Chua Boon Kee's family of five, as well as Lim Soo Ngee's interpretation of a family having some fun by the waterfront.

For Instagrammable murals, check out Christine Lim's whimsical take of a day at the Esplanade at the drop-off point of the theatre, and Speak Cryptic's wall art of musicians at the entrance of the Recital Studio. The most recent addition is Nadiah Alsagoff and Dominic Tong's vibrant showcase of a conductor leading a lively parade.

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Momentum by David Gerstein
Momentum by David Gerstein

A stroll down the waterside gets you a view of the Merlion, and further down towards OUE Bayfront is the famous bull by Anna C Spellini.

The one you can’t miss out is the city’s tallest public sculpture located between Finlayson Green and Raffles Quay – Momentum by David Gerstein. A nod to the Singaporeans who contributed in creating the vibrant city, the cone-shaped, kaleidoscopic sculpture is made up of small figures in a variety of hues, standing at 18-metres.

Orchard

Anthony Poon
Photo: National Arts Council

Start at: Orchard MRT Station

Singapore’s famous shopping district, including its surrounding hotels, is decked with a number of bold outdoor art installations. Come night time, check out Stephanie Scuris fountain sculpture at Regent Singapore where it’s accompanied with multi-coloured LED visuals.

Down St. Regis Singapore sit three abstract art pieces by Li Chen, Fernando Botero and Anthony Poon (pictured), while Hilton Singapore is home to two statues by Aw Eng Kwang, as well as an embellishment by Gerard D’Alton Henderson at the entrance of the hotel.

Nutmeg and Mace by Kumari Nahappan

Before stepping into the air-conditioned shopping havens, admire the stunning outdoor art. Right outside ION Orchard is the unmissable brightly-coloured caricatures by Kurt Laurenz Metzler, as well as Kumari Nahappan’s giant nutmeg and mace.

Walk past Wisma Atria towards Ngee Ann City where you’ll spot a gleaming art piece atop its outdoor water fountain by Professor Liu Ji Lin. Cross over to Paragon for Sun Yu-li’s statues inspired by cave-paintings.

More to explore

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