Singapore Street Art - Elmac Light

Where to find Street Art in Singapore: Little India

In Singapore, Street Art by Jaclynn Seah7 Comments

Updated August 2017 – new post layout + works added!

Many people who visit Singapore stop by Little India to get a closer look at its designated Indian culture district. While Little India is famous for fabric shops, spicy Indian curries and the amazing 24-hour Mustafa Shopping centre that sells just about anything you can think of, it’s also a surprising hotbed for street art in Singapore with a number of murals by famous international artists, largely thanks to the emergence of ArtWalk Little India, an annual arts festival that embeds artworks in the little crowded lanes of this colourful neighbourhood.

Here’s a detailed guide on where to find all the street art in Little India:

Pin it: Where to find street art in Little India

NAVIGATING LITTLE INDIA

Little India is a fairly large neighbourhood that you can spend a fair amount of time walking around in. I’ve split the map into 4 major areas near some major landmarks so it’s easier for you to navigate.

  1. Around Tekka Centre – Race Course Road, Chander Road, Buffalo Road, Belilios Lane
  2. Around Indian Heritage Centre – Upper Dickson Road, Dickson Road, Clive Street, Perak Road
  3. Near Mustafa Centre – Rowell Road, Hindoo Road, Veerasamy Road
  4. Around Jalan Besar – Horne Road, Hamilton Road, Plumer Road

Use the quick links above to navigate and read about more details about the artworks and artists, as well as where exactly to find some of the more elusive works.

Little India Street Art Map

Getting there: The closest MRT station is Little India (NorthEast Line, Downtown Line), or Lavender (EastWest Line) if you are headed to Jalan Besar

Check out Singapore Street Art on Instagram for more places in Singapore to discover awesome street art, or my embedded Google Map below. If you are in Singapore, you can also check out my guides for Kampong Glam or the Bras Basah-Bugis district for more street art, or see my full line up of street art guides from Asia and around the world.

 


AREA 1 – AROUND TEKKA CENTRE

Tekka Centre has a pretty awesome hawker centre and wet market that has some cheap and good local street food – I suggest stopping by Tekka Centre to grab some lunch or take a drink

  • Race Course Road
  • Chander Road
  • Buffalo Road
  • Belilios Lane

RACE COURSE ROAD

Location: On the side of shophouses right behind the Little India MRT Station Exit E, near the junction with Kerbau Road

Singapore Street Art - Little India Race Course Road Cattleland2

Cattleland 2 is pretty bright and cheery!

This piece is by artist Eunice Lim created for ArtWalk Little India 2017. The work harkens both to the name of the nearby Kerbau (that’s a Malay word for Buffalo!) Road and the reverence that Hindus places upon cattle, and if you notice there are some traditional Indian patterns on the cattle as well. This work is actually the second mural that Eunice has created for Artwalk Little India – the first piece could actually be found on the wall next to it (imho it’s a much less cramped wall so the work was more striking) back in 2015. Sadly, that work was removed the following year, but at least we have the sequel to look at now!

Singapore Street Art - Eunice Lim Cattleland

The original Cattleland by night taken in 2015 – it’s a huge piece that apparently the artist drew freehand with just a grid to guide her!

 

Keep walking down Race Course Road until you get to a small alleyway on your right, and you can’t miss this long mural in the alley way

Location: In the alleyway between Shophouse 48 and 50 along Race Course Road – it connects to Chander Road and is home to the Jasmine mural below

Singapore Street Art - Little India Race Course Road Ride Pano

A Ride Through Race Course Road – a community mural by Jaxton Su Jingxiang

This 20m long mural is called A Ride Through Race Course Road, showing a race horse peeling through a crowded traditional Indian street market. It’s a visual story that tells you how this road got its name – because of the nearby Farrer Park area used to be a horse racing area. This community mural was painted by Jaxton Su with the help of migrant workers and students – but the style reminded me of Yip YC’s murals at first glance.

Singapore Street Art - Little India Race Course Road Ride High

Don’t forget to look up!

 

CHANDER ROAD

Location: Alleyway at 27 Chander Road that connects to Race Course Road and is also home to the Ride mural above

Singapore Street Art - Little India Jasmine Pano

Madame Mogra, Jasmine of the City by Nadiah Alsagoff – it climbs quite high up but I couldn’t get a proper photo!

This large climbing Jasmine is another Artwalk Little India 2017 work, a tribute to the sacrifices of migrant workers who come to Singapore to work. Pop around the back and you’ll see a rather lifelike squatting migrant worker tending to the Jasmine plant – this is probably my favourite part of the work. You’ll notice that this is quite a busy alley – lots of people and workers taking their smoke breaks here!

Singapore Street Art - Little India Jasmine Worker

You won’t see this bit from Chander road as it is hidden by the bend of the wall

 

BUFFALO ROAD

Location: 6 pillars of Tekka Centre on ground level facing Buffalo Road

Singapore Street Art - Little India Tekka All

Cricket and Classical by Ts1 and Haha

Head over to the the famous Tekka Centre and look for the entrance to the carpark along Buffalo Road – that’s where you will spot these lovely collaboration works between Singapore’s TraseOne and Australia’s Haha aka Regan Tamanui is celebration of SG50 for a project called 50 Bridges in May 2015. Titled ‘Cricket and Classical’, quite apt given how both groups are huge cricket fans, and the Indian dancers really bring out the colour and flavour of the Indian culture. Haha covered the Cricket works while TraseOne did the Indian Classical figures.

Singapore Street Art - Haha Cricket 2

Close up of Haha’s work – he’s famous for his stencils

Singapore Street Art - TraseOne Classical 3

This Classical Indian dancer is quite beautiful

Singapore Street Art - Haha Cricket 3

Notice the birds in his art? Those give a bit of a tie back to Australia as they are Aussie birds!

Singapore Street Art - TraseOne Classical 1

I’m digging the vibrant colours in the background

Singapore Street Art - Haha Cricket 1

Cricket is a popular game to the Indian community, as well as the Australian one!

Singapore Street Art - TraseOne Classical 2

This background is my favourite for the bird shape

 

BELILIOS LANE

Location: An alleyway leading behind the shophouses off Belilios Lane

Singapore Street Art - Little India Psyfool

Traditional Trades of Little India by Psyfool

Head over to Belilios Lane – it’s a busy area, but you can’t miss this very large piece by Psyfool which features various Indian tradesmen and their businesses in this area. How many trades do you recognise? There is the parrot astrologer who uses a parrot to pick fortunes, a garland maker who makes these fragrant flower chains, Kacang Puteh man who sells the street snacks, and of course the dhobis – washermen and women for which the Dhoby Ghaut area was named for!

There used to be a hidden work further inside the alley by Mojoko, reminiscent of old Indian cinema posters. Sadly as it’s a paste up work, it didn’t hold up to Singapore’s rainy weather very well and you can’t see it anymore.

Singapore Street Art - Mojoko Belilios Lane

Sensory Overload by Mojoko – By the time I saw this in January 2016, it was already faded (below). The photo above was taken by Chris Chai who helped to install it and the colours were much more vivid, though there’s something quite charming about the faded version…

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AREA 2 – AROUND INDIAN HERITAGE CENTRE

The Indian Heritage Centre is a super modern and funky looking building with sharp edges and reflective surfaces, quite a large contrast to the weathered shophouses surrounding it. A very informative and interactive museum worth checking out if you want to learn more about the Indian diaspora in this part of the world.

  • Upper Dickson Road
  • Dickson Road
  • Clive Street
  • Perak Road

UPPER DICKSON ROAD

Location: 68 Serangoon Road, at the junction with Upper Dickson Road

Singapore Street Art - Little India Upper Dickson Jaba

Kathaka by Didier Mathieu aka Jaba – the name is a reference to a type of Indian dance. The next work is around the corner, in the alleyway just past this building

These Indian dancers are not the easiest to photograph because of the location and pillars. You probably have seen Didier Mathieu aka Jaba‘s works if you’ve been to Kampong Glam – they are all over the side of Piedra Negra, although the style there is quite different from these works that he created for ArtWalk Little India 2017.

Singapore Street Art - Little India Upper Dickson Jaba Green

The artist was inspired by the colours and movements of Indian dancers

 

Location: An alleyway just past the Didier work above, near the junction of Serangoon Road and Upper Dickson Street

Singapore Street Art - Little India Upper Dickson Loops

Loops of the Precious by Priyageetha d/o Diayalan

This work is a little bit more hidden, but you can find it in a little alleyway just past the Didier work above. This was done for ArtWalk Little India 2016 by Priyageetha d/o Diayalan. It was inspired by the artist’s grandfather who was a goldsmith, another traditional trade of the area.

 

DICKSON ROAD

Location: The green space along Dickson Road between Clive Street and Perak Road

Singapore Street Art - Little India Dunlop Dyn

I Am Still Here by Dyn

Further down from the Upper Dickson murals, you should come across this open green space. At the time I saw it in mid 2017, there were lovely colourful buffalo statues (Eunice’s work perhaps) all around this mini park and lots of people were just sitting around and enjoying the art. On the shophouse wall facing this green space is this mural by an artist called Dyn, meant to put a face to a place that continue to hold on to traditions even in the face of modernism. She looks a little like she’s peeking out from behind those trees!

CLIVE STREET

Location: 104 Dunlop Street, the cross junction of Dunlop Street and Clive Street, down the road from the Indian Heritage Centre

Singapore Street Art - Little India Clive Ts1

Alive @ Clive by TraseOne aka TS1

TraseOne’s work for ArtWalk Little India 2017 is this large colourful piece of an Indian dancer right smack in the middle of what feels like Little India’s busiest junction. I think it definitely captures the vibrancy of the area and is really eye catching! You’ll notice the colours and style are similar to his work along Buffalo Road, done 2 years prior.

 

PERAK ROAD

Location: 12 Perak Road, Perak Hotel behind the Verge at the junction with Mayo Street

Singapore Street Art - Perak Hotel Money Boy

Giving you an idea how high up the artwork is

Most of Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic’s works in Singapore are found in Kampong Glam, but you can find one of his earlier works from 2012 here at Perak Hotel – a cheeky little boy with a hundred dollar bill on a fishing line!

If you have a chance to go inside the Perak Hotel, you might also be able to spot some of his other works that you can’t see from outside – check out this photo album for more!

Singapore Street Art - Perak Hotel Money Boy Close up

view from below so you can see the detail

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AREA 3 – NEAR MUSTAFA CENTRE

The famous 24-hour Mustafa shopping centre is the perfect spot for insomniacs or anyone willing to dig a little for a good bargain. Stuff here generally is a little cheaper than in other shopping malls in Singapore!

  • Rowell Road
  • Hindoo Road
  • Veerasamy Road

ROWELL ROAD

Location: Alleyway connecting Rowell Road and Desker Road, close to Jalan Besar

Singapore Street Art - Little India Rowell Alley

The building on which the works were on was previously the Post Museum, after that it was Broadcast HQ, which sadly doesn’t seem to be in operation now

The pedestrian stretch between Rowell and Desker Road are where you can see works by two prominent American street artists Elmac and Tyke Witnes AWR who were invited to put up their works during the Singapore Night Festival in 2010 – these are some of the older murals that are still around today, which is quite a feat, though that alleyway is a little more cluttered up with plants and people these days.

Singapore Street Art - Elmac Light

Light in Little India by Elmac – this is one of my all time favourite works in Singapore and around the world.

I first saw Elmac’s work in London and was blown away by it – he has a very distinct style that is great to see up close – only to be even more stoked when I found out he actually created a piece in Singapore! He uses actual people as subjects, and this is an Indian man he met around this area.

Singapore Street Art - Tyke Witnes Green

Green Goblins by Tyke Witnes

The more graffiti style my Tyke Witnes is quite different from the Elmac work, but it’s still impressive stuff and quite striking.

And here’s a peek at something that used to be along that alleyway as well in 2014 but is no longer there – a surprising series of fairytale related art that belonged to a place called Bellwethers Bistro just down the way from the Tyke Witnes work

Singapore Street Art - Bellwethers Boy Wolf

The work is signed fd’13 (at least I think it is) but I have no clue who that is

Singapore Street Art - Bellwethers Fairytale

Sadly, these works were getting painted over last I saw (Nov 2014)

 

HINDOO ROAD

Location: 11 Hindoo Road, close to junction with Serangoon Road, overlooking carpark

Singapore Street Art - Little India Hindoo Zero

Working Class Hero by Zero

This portrait is of an iconic Tamil film star called Rajinikanth in his heyday (he’a bit older now) who is apparently a favourite of the working class folk and meant as a tribute by notable local street artist Zero to the migrant workers living in this area. This is yet another ArtWalk Little India 2017 work.

 

VEERASAMY ROAD

Location: 640 Rowell Road at the junction of Veerasamy Road and Hindoo Road

Singapore Street Art - Little India Rowell Court

Singapore Street Art – Little India Rowell Court

There are a bunch of different murals located in the void deck of Blk 640 Rowell Road, where the Jalan Besar Rowell Court Resident’s Centre is, but this one by Kyerule is my favourite.

 

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AREA 4 – JALAN BESAR

This hipster neighbourhood is where you’ll find backpacker hostels and fancy cafes amidst a somewhat industrial area

  • Plumer Road
  • Horne Road
  • Hamilton Road

Strictly speaking, I wouldn’t consider the Jalan Besar district a part of Little India, but it’s close enough to stroll over to and there aren’t any other notable street art works in Jalan Besar to talk about, so I thought I’d include them in this guide for now. These murals were commissioned by Guinness to launch their new Foreign Extra Stout and created by Illustration Studio MadebyBen.

Fun fact: Ang Ji Gao is Hokkien (a Chinese dialect) for Red Tongue Dog, the local colloquial name for Guiness Stout here in Singapore because the local distributor called Blood Wolfe had a bottle label with a wolf’s head emblem (with a panting red tongue!)

The murals can be found in 3 different streets in Jalan Besar:

Singapore Street Art - Jalan Besar AJG Horne

66 Horne Road, right outside the Bravery Cafe, near the Jalan Besar Stadium

Singapore Street Art - Jalan Besar AJG Hamilton

Junction of Hamilton Road and Lavender Street – Shiok is the local slang for something that loosely means ‘awesome’ (it means more than that, it’s not a word easily translated)

Singapore Street Art - Jalan Besar AJG Plumer

Junction of Plumer Road and Jalan Besar

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Share your favourite street art works in Little India with me!

Check out Singapore Street Art on Instagram for more places in Singapore to discover awesome street art.

If you are in Singapore, you can also check out my guides for Kampong Glam or the Bras Basah-Bugis district for more street art, or see my full line up of street art guides from Asia and around the world.

Comments

    1. Author

      The one by Eunice got whitewashed recently… the one by Haha and Ts1 I’m pretty sure was still up the last time I was there though! But then again these things can change pretty quickly!

  1. I’ve been to Little India several time and was only familiar with a handful of the street art there! Really helpful… how did you manage to discover them?

    1. Author

      Combination of seeing pix on instagram and the news, and keeping an eye out when walking around the place 🙂
      Have fun exploring!

  2. Pingback: Street Art in Singapore | Let's Exchange Ideas

  3. Thanks for the info on this. I’ll try to make time to visit the next I make it to Singapore.

    I used to be one of those people very uneasy about street art – is it true art v vandalism? Then I saw the amazing displays of art work whilst in Melbourne and could really appreciate the high level of skill and creativity used by so many.

    1. Author

      You can look me up when you next come to Singapore and I’ll bring you around to check out the hot spots 🙂

      Well like all art, some of it is an eyesore, but the really good ones are awesome and jaw dropping! I like the way street art has an additional element that often uses or reflects the environment that it’s in, which is something you don’t always get from art hanging in galleries!

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