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Insider’s guide to Singapore: Jahan Loh

A creator of Singaporean pop art is fired by the contrasts between new and traditional, East and West

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Portait of Jahan Loh
Photograph: Supplied

Jahan is famous as the man who turned a Ma Ling luncheon meat tin into pop art. As the first artist to bring street art to galleries in both Singapore and China, Jahan has been credited for taking Singapore Pop Art international. “In 2008, I gave up all my safety nets and did art full time,” says Jahan, a former lawyer. “I didn’t want to have regrets in my life. The first two years were tough, as there was no income.” He cites Singapore’s contrasting cultural landscape as one of the key influences on his passion: “In Singapore, we are exposed to a lot of different cultures so growing up, we develop that duality of East-meets-West very naturally.”

Discover where the culture shapers – maestros, craftsmen, performers, artisans – meet, at VisitSingapore.com.

Jahan’s guide for art aficionados

Let local artist Jahan Loh show you around the heritage sites and progressive galleries where he draws inspiration

Tiong Bahru Market
Photograph: Supplied

Tiong Bahru

Start at Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre with breakfast and a stroll through the fresh produce section. At the end of the street is 95-year-old Qi Tian Gong Temple. Venture further southwest for vinyl and curios at stores like Curated Records and Strangelets.

People viewing artwork at National Gallery Singapore
Photograph: Charles Loh

National Gallery Singapore

Time Out s

Spend the rest of the afternoon at National Gallery Singapore. The architecture draws me in because it’s old meets new and East meets West. The gallery was formerly the Supreme Court Building and City Hall.

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Night view of Clarke Quay
Photograph: Marklin Ang

Clarke Quay

In the evening, go drinking and people watching at Clarke Quay. This nightlife hub is home to iconic club Zouk – a huge influence for me when I was growing up.

Kaya Toast
Photograph: Supplied

Bukit Timah

Take your first cup of kopi (coffee) at the Bukit Timah Market. I have to have eight cups of kopi a day! Round the meal off with kaya (coconut jam), toast and soft-boiled eggs.

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MacRitchie Nature Trail & Reservoir Park
Photograph: Supplied

MacRitchie Nature Trail & Reservoir Park

Nature is my source of inspiration, and I regularly head to MacRitchie Reservoir Park.

Singapore Botanic Gardens
Photograph: Gilbert Chua

Singapore Botanic Gardens

From travelling, I’ve come to realise that we have a lot of original, unspoilt greenery here in Singapore, and that’s something that’s underrated.

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