Singapore Street Art - Sultan Arts Village Slacsatu

Where to find Street Art in Singapore: Kampong Glam

In Singapore, Street Art by Jaclynn Seah29 Comments

Kampong Glam is the collective name of the area that used to be the designated Arab/Muslim quarter in Singapore. It’s home to the beautiful Sultan Mosque and has quite an unusual mishmash of cloth merchants, Middle Eastern food and hipster shops all rolled into one heritage district. It’s also one of my favourite places in Singapore to hang out and bring visitors to. I used to work around this area and spent many days walking up and down these streets, so I will always be fond of it, no matter how much it’s gentrified or changed in recent years.

I also love that it’s one of the few districts in Singapore that you can find a lot of cool street art and one of the first places that street art became hip. I’ve put together a bit of a guide to help you uncover these cool murals as you absorb the vibe and history that this place has to offer.

Singapore Street Art Kampong Glam Pin

Street art is ephemeral by nature so it’s always changing. I update when I can.

  • JUN 2017: Revamped overall layout | No Longer There: Removed Records Lion
  • MAR 2017: Added Singapura Club | No Longer There: Merdandy
  • JAN 2017: Added new/revamped Jaba works
  • OCT 2016: Added ARC Coffee, Removed Independent Art Resource
  • JUN 2015: Added Sheryo+The Yok SG50 work


Quick links to help you navigate:

 

Resources and other links:

  • Check out the self-guided audio tour version of this Kampong Glam street art route that I’ve developed for Voicemap here
  • Looking for street art in other parts of Singapore? Check out nearby Bugis-Bras Basah or Little India or see my full street art guide collection here.
  • Here’s a link to my Google Map collection of these artworks and more, or check it out at the bottom of the post
  • Interested in exploring Singapore’s street art with me?

 

Getting to Kampong Glam:

The closest MRT stations are Bugis (East-West, Downtown Line) or Nicoll Highway (Circle Line) and about 5-10mins walk.

 


Victoria Street

This stretch became prominent mostly for the commissioned works by Lithuanian street artist Ernest Zacharevic, whose works you’ll probably recognize if you’ve seen them in Penang’s George Town. He has some pieces over in the East at Joo Chiat, but most of his Kampong Glam works are clustered along Victoria Street between Jalan Klapa and Jalan Pisang.

Walk down from Bugis and you’ll see the Girl with Lion Cub first at the Jalan Pisang junction, then go down further and you should see the Kids in Trolleys, as well as the Kids in/on Giant Exclamation Mark on the side of the AMC building at Jalan Klapa. Don’t forget to walk down a little bit further and you’ll see the Boy in Window along a stretch of blank wall before the Jalan Sultan junction.

Singapore Street Art - Girl With Lion Cub

This is quite a huge piece of work! I personally feel her face looks a bit distorted, but the lion cub is cute

Singapore Street Art - Kids in Supermarket Trolley

Very Zachas style, fusing a real supermarket trolley (sawn in 2 and fixed to the wall) with his lifelike drawings

Singapore Street Art -Kid in Exclamation Mark 1

On the side of the AMC building: Look closely at the exclamation mark to spot the kid’s feet!

Singapore Street Art -Kid in Exclamation Mark 2

Look up high to see one of the boys making a break for it

Singapore Street Art - Boy in Window

I actually missed this piece the first time round and had to go back again to check it out, it’s pretty subtle!

 

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Aliwal Street

After you’re done on Victoria Street, cut through Jalan Klapa, cross North Bridge Road and head down Aliwal Street till you reach the Aliwal Arts Centre. This arts centre houses one of Singapore’s more popular artist collectives RSCLS on its second level, with current members including a Young Artist Award winner ZERO to the once infamous SKL0 aka the sticker lady who cause a bit of an uproar back in 2012 with her ‘My Grandfather Road’ graffiti. Pop by their studio or look for their works all around the building – there is a large wall in the alleyway behind the building and a side wall which have works that are ever-changing! Also, keep your eyes peeled for the piece by Italian artist Alice Pasquini which I only spotted quite recently.

*Cross the road to the little concrete clearing next to the Independent Archive and Resource Centre at 67 Aliwal Street and you’ll see some interesting things there too [*Added Oct 2016: The Independent Archive area is being renovated so that whole bit is now gone!]

 

Singapore Street Art - Zero Converse

In the back alleyway of Aliwal Arts Centre. This work was done by ZERO, I love the vibrant colours! But these walls change frequently so who knows what you’ll see here

Singapore Street Art - RSCLS

Around the side of the Aliwal Arts Centre is another ever-changing wall space where you will usually see 2-3 different smaller artworks

Singapore Street Art -Antz

I saw ANTZ do this live, and it was pretty amazing how fast and efficiently he worked! It even has a concept which is impressive considering he seemed to have thought up the idea quite spontaneousely – graffiti being the voice that is only heard in the alleys… (these walls change frequently)

Singapore Street Art - Jac

If you’ve been following on Instagram, you’ll know that the R was done by me! And beautified tremendously by the talented DEM

Singapore Street Art - Alice Pasquini Close up

In an unobtrusive corner of that same alleyway above an electrical box sits this little Alice Pasquini work, done when she was in town to do a work at the La Salle College of the Arts over at 9 Winstedt Road in 2013

Singapore Street Art - Alice Pasquini

Just to give a bit of context to the size and location of this work – it was blocked by a large construction container previously when I was in this alleyway!

Singapore Street Art - Stuttgart Blackforest Tree Close up

Not quite on Aliwal Street but along Jalan Sultan that runs parallel to it, close to the Beach Road end. Cross the road towards the Keypoint building and look back to see this on the wall of Stuttgart Blackforest Express. No idea whose work it is but I like that it looks like a treehouse!

 

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Sultan Arts Village

This rather obscure little building is easy to miss, a tiny enclave just a few roads down from Aliwal Arts Centre in front of the entrance to the Malay Heritage Centre. Go check out The Black Book, a shop run by a graffiti crew ZincNiteCrew (aka ZNC), which sells spray paints and apparel. They also run the occasional graffiti battle here, so keep checking out their practice walls. Also look for art on the walls behind the shop, as well as around the front and sides of the Sultan Arts Village building for more awesome street art – can’t confirm if they are all done by ZNC folk, but it is a fun place to explore nonetheless.

Singapore Street Art - Sultan Arts Village Slacsatu

This beautiful piece is by Slacsatu, one of the founders of ZNC. I love how it’s so evocative of batik.

Singapore Street Art - Sultan Arts Village

It says Sultan Arts Village – there are plants in front of it so this was the best angle I could manage

Singapore Street Art - Sultan Arts Village Dancer

Around the side of the building are more paintings, this one of a traditional dancer

Singapore Street Art - Sultan Arts Village Face

And another one of a face. I suspect these are all ZNC works but can’t be sure

Singapore Street Art - Sultan Arts Village Dancer Face LR

This is a rare time where no cars were parked in front of the wall so you can see the full work in all its glory!

Singapore Street Art - Black Book

This picture is actually a throwback to 2012 when I first stumbled upon the place, but it still looks more or less the same now, except the boards behind are always changing! You’ll always see fresh works here

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Sultan Gate

Down the road from Sultan Arts Village is a little alleyway where you can find this mural called Coffee Story by Yip Yew Chong aka Yip YC. It was commissioned for the coffee house A.R.C. located on that corner and depicts various ways you can get your coffee in Singapore, from the traditional to the modern.

Singapore Street Art - YipYC coffee story

Full view of the alleyway next to 29/31 Sultan Gate – ARC coffee is just behind this wall

Singapore Street Art - YipYC ARC now

Closer look at the right side of the mural which shows modern coffee brewing methods

Singapore Street Art - YipYC ARC sock

The center portion is a more old school Chinese style kopitiam uncle at work

Singapore Street Art - YipYC ARC tarik

And on the left hand side is the Teh Tarik man pouring the tea from cup to cup. Note the little cat around the corner!

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Haji Lane

This lane is more famous for its hipster shops and attracts photographers looking for a colourful yet traditional shophouse backdrop; it is one of the spots in Singapore which has had street art for quite a long time before it got hip. You’ll see more works by ZNC here, and quite a lot by JabaOne concentrated at the buildings on the Beach Road end leading up to the alleyway linking Arab Street and Haji Lane. Some of the other shops have got into the act as well, with artwork on their shopfronts, it’s definitely a visually exciting place.

Singapore Street Art - SlacMyowAsno

It’s not quite Haji Lane, but the alley linking Arab Street to Haji Lane – there’s a large wall which has a work by ZNC’s Slac, Myow and Asno on one side…

Singapore Street Art - Haji Lane Ceno2

Ceno2’s work here for Singapura Club is quite popular and has a very strong local Singaporean flavour. There used to be some older Jaba works here for the previous tenant Merdandy

Singapore Street Art - sheryo-theyok 1

This work by Sheryo and The Yok is further down from Jaba’s work above and opposite the Slac/Myow/Asno piece is a part of SG50oz

Singapore Street Art - sheryo-theyok 2

The inspiration was the fabrics from around the area – Arab Street is lined on both sides with fabric shops, so it’s a nice call out to the area

Singapore Street Art - JabaOne Piedra Negra

Jaba has a huge collection of works in this area, covering all sides of the restaurant Piedra Negra on the Beach Road end of Haji Lane – remember to go all around the building! He updated the works in late 2016 so they look pretty fresh, and also added in some new murals

 

Singapore Street Art - Merlion LR

Hidden amidst the trees is this funky merlion by Aussie street artist Mistery

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No Longer There

Here are some of the older street art works that I liked but have either been painted over or removed, thought I’d keep them here for posterity.

 

Singapore Street Art - ZERO-KILAS Straits Records

24 Bali Lane – the famous Straits Records facade is done by ZERO and KILAS has now been replaced by a generic white wall since Straits Records moved

Singapore Street Art - Jaba Merdandy

These works by Jaba were painted over by Ceno’s work when Merdandy moved out and Singapura Club moved in

Singapore Street Art - Button Figures

These were pretty random, on the wall opposite Jaba’s work on Haji Lane. Long since removed though

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Of course as you wander around the area, you might across more than these artworks I’ve listed here – I’ve spotted several other pieces, but these are the main spots you’re likely to see more works, if you do find new areas to highlight, do let me know!

As you can see, I’ve been looking at Singapore’s street art scene a little bit more closely and started a side project to start documenting the locations and artworks so that people visiting Singapore know where to go and whose work they’re looking at. Street art is only starting to catch on, and it’s still illegal if you do it on public property without permission, but many building owners are starting to become more open to the idea of urban art on their buildings. Also, there are some spots which are legal for street artists to practice, like *SCAPE and the Rail Corridor at Commonwealth viaduct.

Do check out my side project Singapore Street Art on instagram @singaporestreetart – it aims to document all past and present street art in Singapore. Hashtag #singaporestreetart if you find anything cool that should be featured here.

Looking for more street art? See the full list here or check out these other locations in Singapore:

Comments

  1. Pingback: SoloTravel Singapore - Mimo?a

  2. Nice post 🙂 enjoyed it .. the Singapore graffiti scene does hosts events regularly where newer writers/artist participate with the more experienced guys. Thanks for the re-post of our crew’s piece on your instagram 🙂 feel free to drop by any of the local graffiti events.

  3. So glad I stumbled across your page before our trip, I will be sure to check out some nearby to where we are staying.

    1. Author

      hope you find it useful! check out the Voicemap audio tour of the street art in the area as well for something a little different 🙂

  4. Thanks for the great streetart guides for Singapore. I’ll be there in a few weeks time and looking forward to using them. Has saved me a lot of research on Instagram.

    1. Author

      Glad you found it helpful and I hope you have a great time! Check out instagram.com/singaporestreetart which is my side instagram account specifically for awesome street art works around Singapore 🙂

      1. I’ve been following your streetart instagram account for a few months now but only just found the blog

  5. There’s one in an alley off serangoon road between lavender street and 7eleven/shell. North side of serangoon street… The alley has a Chinese style gate.
    It depicts a bar scene with a rock band.

      1. On the other side of serangoon road there is a corner restaurant ‘the French stall’ their shutters are in graffiti too, you’ll have to come before they open, though.
        And I ran into Yip Yew Chong yesterday in Everton rd, there’s new work in progress. 😉

        1. Author

          i know there’s one in the east side he just did like a kampung house, gotta go exploring soon! 🙂 thanks for all the tips!

  6. There’s a pair of gold fish on one of the buildings along tiong bahru area…

  7. Hi Jaclynn! Thanks for this article! I’m a huge fan of street art too and have started to notice recently that Singapore has had more street art murals popping up on obscure walls! This is a fantastic guide to start exploring with (:

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  9. Big thanks for that! Going to SGP tomorrow for the 5th time or so and willing to explore smth different this time, you article is very helpful! 🙂

    1. Author

      thanks emiwdrodze and have fun! you just might see some new stuff and if you do find new locations, so share, am happy to update my post accordingly! 🙂

  10. Pingback: Kampong Glam: Top 5 Things To Do | Download A Date

  11. awesome piece. i never knew Ernest did those pieces along victoria street!

    1. Author

      Yes indeed Neil – it’s nice that we have some of his works on our streets too 🙂
      He has another piece in Joo Chiat too!

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  13. Pingback: Street art and car parks | Raphwrites

  14. Hello Joan,

    My name is Richard Tassart,I’m French and live in Paris. You certainly know Paris is an important city of street art. I write in a local blog posts on street art. Like a critic I try to analyse the works.
    Thanks for your blog ( my future daughter in law who lives in Singapore told me that street art does not exist in town.She gave me the link of your blog).
    The blog I write is Canal street (I sign Richard)

    My son and his wife will live in Songapore soon. I go in Singapore for the wedding on October.
    Congratulations.

    Richard.

    1. Author

      Bonjour Richard and thanks for leaving a note, merci beaucoup! 🙂
      I haven’t seen the street art in Paris, though that’s probably because I only got more interested in it recently.
      Congratulations to your family and I hope you enjoy your time in Singapore

  15. Wow, street art really really is quite hard to find in Singapore and I’m so glad that you’ve shared about these hidden gems!

    1. Author

      thanks Joan! There are more spots emerging though, the harder I look! I hope that the new SingaporeStreetArt project makes it easier for people to stumble upon these gems 🙂

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